You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Finally Gets All of the GTI's Performance Goodies

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 2019-02-07 Joey Capparella
a car parked on the side of a mountain: Now that the Volkswagen Jetta again shares its platform with the Golf, the high-performance GLI version reclaims its place as a legit GTI with a trunk.© Volkswagen Now that the Volkswagen Jetta again shares its platform with the Golf, the high-performance GLI version reclaims its place as a legit GTI with a trunk.

Volkswagen has always closely associated the Jetta GLI sedan with the Golf GTI hot hatch, but the supposed siblings were most recently more like distant cousins, as the outgoing sixth-generation Jetta used completely different underpinnings than the MQB-based seventh-generation GTI. Now that the new 2019 Jetta has migrated to MQB, its GLI variant can once again legitimately claim to be a GTI with a trunk, and it has the standard and optional performance extras to back up that assertion.

a black and red car: Volkswagen has always closely associated the Jetta GLI sedan with the Golf GTI hot hatch, but the supposed siblings were most recently more like distant cousins, as the outgoing sixth-generation Jetta used completely different underpinnings than the MQB-based seventh-generation GTI. Now that the new 2019 Jetta has migrated to MQB, its GLI variant can once again legitimately claim to be a GTI with a trunk, and it has the standard and optional performance extras to back up that assertion.

For starters, the GLI has the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the GTI, with the same 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque-increases of 18 horsepower and 41 lb-ft over the last GLI. It mates with a standard six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with automatic cars adding stop-start functionality. A mechanical limited-slip differential is newly standard, and adaptive dampers are newly optional. The braking system is shared with the GTI, with 13.4-inch front rotors.

a car parked on a beach: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI© Volkswagen 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

There are plenty of visual links between the GLI and GTI, too, as has long been the case. With a suspension setup that's lowered 0.6 inch over the standard Jetta, the GLI looks leaner and meaner than that mainstream sedan, and it has a black grille with red accent lines to mirror the GTI. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, and red brake calipers peek out from underneath them. The front and rear bumpers look more aggressive, and dual exhaust tips round out the look. Inside, the black-and-red theme continues with red accent stitching for the black seats. A fair amount of stuff comes standard, including dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and push-button start, and LED headlights and taillights. A panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, and a digital gauge cluster are optional.

A 35th Anniversary Edition will be part of the lineup to start; it has black wheels with a red stripe, a black roof, black mirror caps, and special badging and comes standard with the aforementioned adaptive dampers. Two lesser trim levels will exist, too-a base S trim and an Autobahn-and the GLI should start in the high-$20,000 range when it goes on sale this spring.

a close up of a car: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI© Volkswagen 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Car and Driver

Car and Driver
Car and Driver
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon