The GLI is every thing we love in regards to the GTI in a Jetta-shaped wrapper.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is what occurs when a sizzling hatch grows up. This sporty sedan has all the trimmings of its rowdy GTI sibling, packaged in a good-looking, mature wrapper.


Wonderful handlingPowerful turbo engineHandsome design, if a bit boring

Do not Like

Numb steeringBad infotainment tech on the bottom trim

The GLI units itself aside from the usual Jetta with bigger air intakes, a low entrance spoiler and distinctive facet skirts. The grille takes some styling cues from the GTI with its honeycomb sample and basic crimson accent stripe. The GLI sits 0.6 inches decrease to the bottom than the usual Jetta and has a novel rear bumper and diffuser, in addition to twin chrome exhaust ideas. However even with these sporty touches, the GLI nonetheless slides below the radar.

The Jetta GLI is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine pushing out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque — the identical powertrain you will discover within the GTI. The GLI comes with front-wheel drive, and whereas you may get a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission, my tester has the six-speed guide. Rating.

My Autobahn trim comes full with the DCC adaptive damping system, with modes for Regular, Sport and Eco, in addition to a Customized setting. DCC permits me to dial in that Customized configuration, with particular person choices for the damping, steering, drivetrain, engine sound, entrance differential and even local weather controls.

Nevertheless, I do not suppose the Customized setting makes a lot of a distinction. Regardless of making an attempt out a bunch of various setups throughout my week with the automobile, the Regular and Sport modes work simply tremendous. A lot of my reward for the usual Sport setting is due to the limited-slip entrance differential that works with the GLI’s digital differential lock. Torque goes to the entrance wheel with essentially the most grip, there’s little to no understeer and wheelspin is nonexistent.

The two.0-liter engine produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

The bottom Jetta will get an old-school torsion-beam rear suspension, however the GLI upgrades that {hardware} to a multilink impartial setup. Mixed with the GLI’s beefier roll bars and stiffer springs, this sedan is certainly able to play. It swiftly settles after pavement undulations, popping out of an off-camber flip with nary a hair misplaced. The steering is fast, direct and weighty, although it may use a bit extra in the best way of suggestions. The 13.4-inch vented entrance brakes are lifted from the Golf R hatchback, paired with 11.8-inch diameter brakes within the rear. These stoppers are stable, though I want the pedal’s engagement level was only a tad increased.

The GLI is a blast on backroads, but it surely’s tremendous for every day commuting, too. Customary on the GLI are superior driver’s aids comparable to forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. My top-level Autobahn trim goes additional with lane-keeping help and adaptive cruise management. Sure, adaptive cruise management works with a guide transmission, though solely at increased speeds. There’s no type of low-speed observe and as soon as the GLI thinks it is going to stall, the system disengages and the motive force takes over.

The Jetta GLI’s gasoline financial system is respectable, returning an EPA-estimated score of 24 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 33 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed. Even after per week of decidedly aggressive driving, I am nonetheless in a position to hit that 28-mpg common.

The inside is generally tremendous, however lacks visible aptitude.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Inside, the GLI’s cabin tech is straightforward and simple. The usual infotainment setup makes use of a tiny 6.5-inch show, however the Autobahn bumps that as much as a nicer 8.0-inch display operating VW’s newest MIB3 expertise. This technique can deal with a number of Bluetooth telephone pairings without delay, and I like that the display is angled in direction of the motive force so it is easy to see and attain. MIB3’s menus are laid out thoughtfully so there is not an enormous studying curve, both. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are each customary, and along with a wi-fi charging pad, there are three USB-C ports and a 12-volt outlet to maintain your units juiced.

The Autobahn trim has Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, a 10-inch customizable gauge cluster that provides the motive force all types of data like automobile knowledge, driver-assistance function standing and audio and telephone entry. It can be custom-made with completely different designs, together with a full-screen navigation view. It isn’t fairly as fancy-pants as Audi’s Digital Cockpit, but it surely’s basically the identical thought, and considered one of my favourite automobile inside options.

The GLI Autobahn will get an 8-inch touchscreen.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

It’s kind of of a bummer that the GLI is not provided with any quirky inside design touches just like the GTI hatchback’s plaid seats. All you will discover right here is black fabric or elective leather-based with contrasting crimson stitching. The Jetta no less than has a 10-color LED ambient lighting system that coordinates together with your chosen driving mode: white for Regular, crimson for Sport and blue for Eco. If that does not fit your temper, you possibly can select your personal colours, as properly.

Like the usual Jetta, the GLI’s inside supplies are good however not nice. A few of my colleagues lament the cheaper plastics and too-soft seats, particularly for the reason that GTI’s cabin feels extra premium by comparability. The sedan’s trunk is pretty spacious at 14.1 cubic toes, and my 5-foot, 9-inch body matches simply tremendous within the rear seat — my knees do not contact the entrance seatbacks and my head would not brush the roof.

So far as rivals go, you possibly can nonetheless snag a Honda Civic Si, or the all-wheel-drive Mazda3 Turbo is an efficient possibility, although it is costlier. The brand new Hyundai Elantra N Line has rather less energy than the GLI, but it surely’s additionally provided with a guide transmission and has some severely cool design. The Subaru WRX is one other various, but it surely’s getting a bit previous, and the Jetta is a nicer all-around automobile.

The GLI actually flies below the radar.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

The 2021 Jetta GLI begins at $27,340 together with $995 for vacation spot. The Autobahn is a $4,000 upcharge, and whereas I do not suppose the customizable DCC chassis makes an enormous distinction, the cabin tech is considerably higher. All in, an Autobahn with the six-speed guide like this check automobile prices $32,335.

In fact, the GLI’s greatest competitor is the GTI sitting subsequent to it within the VW showroom, and the Jetta undercuts its Golf equal by just a few thousand {dollars} whereas nonetheless offering principally the identical on-road thrills. The GTI’s hatchback design is much more sensible, however the GLI appears like an altogether extra grown-up bundle — although it is nonetheless greater than keen to get a bit rowdy.


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