2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: 4 facts we learned


One of the pleasant surprises of the Chicago Auto Show was the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. It promises to be the much-loved GTI but in a sedan skin. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is as powerful as the GTI with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Plus it gets a mechanical limited-slip differential and multi-link rear suspension. Naturally, we wanted to know a little more about this spunky sedan, so we got a tour of the new GLI from Adam Reinhardt, VW’s American product marketing and strategy person, who told us key details.

The is more aerodynamic than the GTI

If you want to set a top-speed record with a small performance VW, you’ll want to choose the Jetta GLI. Reinhardt told us it has a lower coefficient of drag than the GTI. Much of the credit goes to the fact that sedans are generally more aerodynamic than hatchbacks. When asked whether this could result in better fuel economy, Reinhardt simply said they’re expecting about the same fuel economy, possibly a little better for the GLI.

The GLI will be heavier than the GTI

While the GLI is more slippery than the GTI, it’s a tad more portly. Reinhardt told us that it will probably be about 150 to 200 pounds heavier than the hatch. This is interesting, considering that the regular and Golf only differ in weight by around 50 pounds at the most. But the regular Jetta uses a much simpler, lighter torsion beam rear suspension. The heavier multi-link suspension that’s exclusive to GLI is likely a source of that extra weight.

Multi-link rear suspension doesn’t intrude on space

Besides lightweight and low-cost, another reason automakers sometimes use torsion beam suspension is to free up cabin space. And since the Jetta was designed with the torsion beam in mind, we wondered if adding a multi-link setup would result in a smaller trunk. But Reinhardt assured us that the GLI’s trunk is just as big as the regular Jetta’s. The fuel tank is the same size, too, so it seems VW managed to avoid sacrificing any interior space. With that being said, we can basically guarantee the Jetta GLI won’t have the same range as a regular Jetta, because there’s no way it will be as efficient.

The Jetta GLI might be a better value than GTI

Volkswagen didn’t reveal pricing on the GLI, but we were able to get Reinhardt to say that pricing will be similar to the GTI. So basically, around $27,000 or $28,000. He also mentioned that, trim for trim, the Jetta GLI will have a bit more equipment. So it seems that, whether the GLI is cheaper or not, you might get a little more for your money by choosing the GLI.

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