600-horsepower Volkswagen Jetta breaks 210 miles per hour

The modified 2019 Jetta broke the previous record of 208 miles per hour at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
2 min read

On Tuesday, announced its specially tuned 2019 set a speed record of 210.16 miles per hour at the Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah, besting the previous record of 208.472 mph.

VW had hoped to conquer the salt flats at Bonneville Speed Week in August, but transmission problems caused the team to delay until this past weekend at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association's World of Speed event.

The record-breaking Jetta is far from fresh off the showroom floor. Instead of the standard 1.4-liter engine found in the 2019 Jetta, the Bonneville version gets a sauced-up iteration of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine which will eventually feature in the Jetta GLI performance model. Volkswagen claims the Bonneville Jetta packs 600 horsepower, but don't expect the GLI to come anywhere near that number. It will probably be closer to the 220 horsepower on tap in the current GTI.

2019 Bonneville Jetta OGI
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2019 Bonneville Jetta OGI

This specially-tuned Jetta packs 600 horses under the hood.


Of course, it takes more than just some fancy tuning to make a small engine break the 200 mph barrier. The Bonneville Jetta has a lowered suspension and lost some weight with a stripped interior. Traction gets a boost with a limited-slip differential and special wheels and tires made specifically for the famous salt flats. Safety gear includes a full roll cage, racing seat and harness and a fire suppression system. Volkswagen gave no specifics on beefier brakes to bring the Jetta to a stop, but did say it comes complete with a pair of parachutes.

Volkswagen has been on a bit of a motorsport tear lately with this record coming fresh on the heels of its victory at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with the all-electric I.D. R race car in June of this year.

Blink and you'll miss the record-breaking Volkswagen Bonneville Jetta

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta: Read our take on the standard 2019 Jetta.

Record-setting EV: Check out Volkswagen's I.D. R all-electric race car on its record-setting run at Pikes Peak.