2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review
For the past couple decades, when Volkswagen releases a new Jetta sedan, it means a performance-themed GLI version won’t be too far behind. But with the sixth-generation Jetta getting bigger and softer for the U.S., inquiring minds want to know if the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI, which is debuting at the 2011 Chicago auto show, will get softer as well.
Redesigned for 2011, the Jetta has creased if innocuous styling and more interior space. To keep the price low, VW has pulled some cost out of the Jetta, which can be seen in the shiny interior plastics, rear drum brakes (some models), and the weak base four-cylinder engine.
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the most differentiated of the sports sedans dating back to the first GLI in 1984 and running up to 2009, when the Jetta GLI was last offered.
2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Feature
GLI interior features will include a standard 6.5-inch touch screen radio with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, power express windows, a multifunction display for vehicle status, trip, radio and navigation, with options like dual-zone climate control, available RNS-315 navigation system and keyless entry with pushbutton start, all standard on the top model. The rear bench seat is split 60/40 and folds. The trunk can be opened from inside the car by a remote unlock switch.
The 2012 GLI is powered by Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, generating 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque at just 1700 rpm, with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The new GLI is expected to deliver 31 mpg highway with the manual and 32 mpg highway with the optional DSG 6-speed automatic. The DSG features steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, quick shift duration and rev-matched downshifts. Volkswagen promises a 0-60 mph performance of less than seven seconds flat with either transmission.
The GLI will be available in three trim levels, starting at $23,495. The Autobahn version, at $25,545, adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated leatherette seats and the Fender premium audio system. The top of the line model is the Autobahn with navigation, which adds the RNS-315 navigation system and keyless access, and pushbutton starting technology for $26,445.
Underneath, the new GLI will come with what VW calls a track- tuned four-way independent performance suspension, a new four-link independent rear suspension with an upsized stabilizer bar, and the patented XDS cross differential system that that helps prevent inside wheel spin during cornering, a feature that debuted on the Volkswagen GTI. Four-wheel ABS disc brakes with floating red calipers have replaced the former disc/drum braking system.
The price tag for the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI starts at $24,265 (including destination) and bumping up to the $26,315 GLI Autobahn nets heated leather seats, 18-inch wheels, and a Fender sound system. Navigation and keyless, push-button start can be added onto the Autobahn package, bringing the MSRP to $27,215.