Volkswagen's GLI was reintroduced in 2012, based on the all-new Jetta platform. Underneath the familiar Jetta body, the GLI has been tuned for performance, with a specialized sport suspension system as well as some tech items lifted from the popular GTI. Volkswagen says the GLI is the most differentiated Jetta model ever made by the company, offering aggressive performance in an easy-to-live-with package.
A turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder is the only engine offered on the GLI for 2013. It makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque at just 1,700 rpm, which helps maximize response and drivability. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but Volkswagen also offers an optional 6-speed DSG automatic, which features steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Volkswagen says the powertrain should be good for 31 mpg highway with the manual and 32 mpg highway with that automatic.
The GLI features a track-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension system, much like what's used on the GTI. Also carried over is the GTI's XDS differential system, which helps limit inside wheelspin under hard cornering. Four-wheel disc brakes with red calipers are standard across the line, all of which add up to much sharper handling and road feel than what's offered on other Jetta models.
Standard safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers. Other features include electronic stability control, tire pressure monitors, and Volkswagen's Intelligent Crash Response System, which automatically cuts power to the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and turns on the 4-way hazard lights in certain types of accidents.
Three GLI trims are available: the GLI, GLI Autobahn and GLI Autobahn with Navigation. The GLI starts at $23,945, and features cloth sport seats with red stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, a 6.5-inch touchscreen stereo with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and one-touch power windows on all four doors. The GLI Autobahn is priced at $26,195 and takes the package one step further, offering 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, a Fender sound system, dual-zone climate control and heated V-Tex leatherette seats. The premium-level GLI Autobahn with Navigation is offered at $28,200, featuring in-dash navigation, a backup camera, bi-xenon headlights and keyless entry with push-button start.
The Jetta GLI sedan often lives in the shadow of Volkswagen's lovely . But in fact, there are plenty of reasons to love this turbocharged sport sedan. This new 2019 model makes that more apparent than ever.
The 2019 GLI is offered in S and Autobahn trims, and a special 35th Anniversary Edition slots in between those two. The midrange model commemorates 35 years since the first Jetta GLI launched in 1984, and adds red-accented wheels, a black roof, black mirror caps, a black decklid spoiler and special badging. The 35th Anniversary Edition is also the only Jetta GLI that comes with Volkswagen's Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive damping system -- more on that in a minute.
Under the GLI's hood, you'll find the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four engine as the GTI, putting out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but buyers can opt for a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic instead. Regardless of transmission, Volkswagen says the Jetta GLI is estimated to return 25 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.
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