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2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Bargain German sport sedan?

The GLI and GTI certainly use the same formula, yet somehow the two compact Volkswagens have reached slightly different answers.

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Antuan Goodwin
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Volkswagen's GLI is to the Jetta as the legendary GTI is to the automaker's Golf. However, it's not that simple...

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Like the GTI hatch, the sedan is powered the very same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger making 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

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However, the Jetta's chassis is slightly heavier with a longer wheelbase than the GTI, which means that even sharpened up, it's a bit softer than the hatch.

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The toughest Jetta is also rocking a more aggressive design with larger front intakes and red trim.  

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The Jetta GLI's cabin is noticeably cheaper in terms of materials and features than its GTI hatchback brethren.

It's cheaper, too, but the cost-cutting may have been taken too far.

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It's possible to get Volkswagen's Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive dampers, but only on the limited 35th Anniversary Edition. We had to make do without and, honestly, didn't miss it.

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The GLI's more traditional sedan configuration will appeal to owners who want (or need) a discrete trunk. The additional second-row legroom doesn't hurt either.

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The Autobahn trim also features the latest generation of VW infotainment, including the Digital Cockpit instrument cluster.

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Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. VW is also the only major automaker we've seen to support MirrorLink, giving owners a third app streaming choice.

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Check out the rest of our coverage of the 2019 Volkswagen GLI or keep clicking or swiping through for more pictures of bright-red trim.

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