The Jetta GLI sedan usually lives within the shadow of Volkswagen’s pretty Golf GTI hatchback. However actually, there are many causes to like this turbocharged sport sedan. This new 2019 mannequin makes that extra obvious than ever.

The 2019 GLI is obtainable in S and Autobahn trims, and a particular 35th Anniversary Version slots in between these two. The midrange mannequin commemorates 35 years because the first Jetta GLI launched in 1984, and provides red-accented wheels, a black roof, black mirror caps, a black decklid spoiler and particular badging. The 35th Anniversary Version can also be the one Jetta GLI that comes with Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Management adaptive damping system — extra on that in a minute.

The brand new GLI has extra aggressive entrance bumpers with bigger air intakes when in comparison with its extra staid Jetta brother.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Underneath the GLI’s hood, you will discover the identical 2.Zero-liter, turbocharged inline-four engine because the GTI, placing out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed handbook transmission is customary, however patrons can go for a seven-speed, dual-clutch computerized as a substitute. No matter transmission, Volkswagen says the Jetta GLI is estimated to return 25 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed.

For GLI obligation, the already good-looking Jetta sedan will get a muscular updo. The entrance fascia has a bit extra presence, what with its honeycomb grille and bigger air intakes. Out again, the GLI will get twin exhaust retailers nestled in a brand new diffuser.

The GLI can rip up the Dragon with one of the best of them.


The GLI will get MacPherson strut and multilink rear suspension geometry, in addition to stiffer springs and a Zero.6-inch decrease journey peak than common Jettas. Behind its 18-inch wheels you will discover upgraded brakes — 13.Four-inch entrance discs (borrowed from the Golf R hatchback) and 11.Eight-inch rear discs, all of that are painted crimson as a result of, you realize, that is sporty.

All GLIs include Regular, Sport, Eco and Customized driving modes, the latter of which lets you select particular person settings for the steering and throttle. The Jetta GLI additionally will get Volkswagen’s trick VAQ torque-vectoring entrance differential, together with the corporate’s XDS digital diff lock, each of which assist forestall understeer and enhance traction. The 35th Anniversary Version has one other trick up its sleeve by means of Dynamic Chassis Management, which inserts adaptive dampers in any respect 4 corners. The DCC tech additionally permits 35th Anniversary Fashions so as to add a fifth Consolation setting to the drive-mode roster.


These efficiency upgrades are welcome on my check route, the notorious stretch of US Route 129 close to the Tennessee/North Carolina border generally known as the Tail of the Dragon. Its 318 curves are infamous for his or her lowering radii and steep drop-offs, however exhibit the GLI’s nice on-road poise.

In a 35th Anniversary Version tester with the drive mode set to Sport, the GLI is a fascinating steer. The steering itself is direct, however lacks suggestions; a variable-ratio setup at the least makes the automobile fast to vary route. The twin-clutch transmission is generally high-quality when left to its personal accord, although it is not so desperate to downshift underneath braking. Fortunately, a fast flap of the steering wheel-mounted paddle overrides any inherent gearbox laziness. The larger brakes supply stable stopping energy with out being grabby.

It is simple to get right into a very nice rhythm with the Jetta GLI. Brake, downshift, flip, unwind, throttle. Rinse and repeat. The GLI is properly composed by way of the Dragon’s myriad turns.

On a less-curvaceous stretch of highway, I hop right into a manual-transmission GLI. The clutch is gentle however is simple to get used to, with a take-up level proper in the midst of the pedal’s journey. The pedals themselves are spaced a bit far aside for me to heel-toe shift, however total, the handbook transmission provides a way more partaking setup. Volkswagen agrees. The six-speed stick could have been dropped from the last-generation Jetta GLI lineup, however Volkswagen product supervisor Daniel Shapiro assures me, “The handbook is again and it is right here to remain.” Glory, glory hallelujah.

Bland inside with nice tech

The GLI’s inside would not really feel roughly particular than every other Jetta, 10-color ambient lighting system or no. I want the GLI acquired some type of particular remedy just like the GTI’s iconic plaid seats, however no. Nonetheless, the cabin is lots spacious with a lot of room for entrance and rear passengers, and a beneficiant 14.1 cubic toes of trunk area. It is no cargo-swallowing hatchback like on the GTI, however that is nonetheless loads of room.

One of many Jetta GLI’s largest advantages over the GTI is its obtainable tech, together with Volkswagen’s very good Digital Cockpit. This wonderful tech is simply obtainable on the range-topping Autobahn trim, nonetheless, as is an Eight-inch touchscreen operating VW’s MIB II infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Decrease-spec GLIs make do with a 6.5-inch touchscreen operating a less-robust model of this method. The GLI Autobahn provides two USB ports for entrance seat passengers, whereas decrease fashions solely get one. Womp womp.

Three-pedal glory.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Extra tech comes courtesy of ahead collision alert with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, all of that are customary. Sadly, if you would like adaptive cruise management on this Jetta, you are out of luck.

An reasonably priced various

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI begins at $25,995, not together with $895 for vacation spot. That will get you a base S mannequin with a handbook transmission. A loaded Autobahn mannequin with the dual-clutch computerized tops out round $30,000. That is about $6,000 lower than a GTI Autobahn, and will get you Digital Cockpit. Nonetheless, the GTI provides adaptive cruise, plus a bit of extra performance.

In the end, we nonetheless desire the Golf GTI to the Jetta GLI, at the least after this transient preliminary check. However we’re pleased Volkswagen is dedicated to constructing this sporty sedan — not everybody desires a hatchback, in spite of everything. With nice driving dynamics and wonderful infotainment tech, the 2019 Jetta GLI makes a stronger case for itself than ever earlier than.



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