Volkswagen has given the sportier version of its Jetta sedan the big-splash premiere at the Chicago Auto Show.
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI includes some unique styling elements to set it apart from the regular model, such as 18-inch alloy wheels, punchier front and rear bumpers, a black honeycomb grille, a rear spoiler and dual chrome exhaust tips.
While the GLI sits on the same MQB architecture as the redesigned new Jetta, VW promises increased power and sportier handling for its model, and the company has incorporated certain elements from the GTI and Golf R models to ensure that happens. The GLI sits a little lower to the ground compared to its “normal” sibling and is fitted with a spoiler and a multi-link independent rear suspension.
A special 35th Anniversary model features unique black wheels with a red stripe, a black roof, black mirror caps, black tail spoiler, and 35th-anniversary badging inside and out.
Among the standard features included on the GLI for 2019 are LED lighting both front and back, 10-colour ambient lighting and dual-zone climate control. Systems include front assist, blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert.
Buyers can spruce up their Jetta GLI further with the addition of features like Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated leather seats, DCC adaptive damping, and a premium BeatsAudio system.
The GLI gets a black interior with red accents, including red stitching on the steering wheel, shifter, armrest and floormats. The same stitching adorns the comfort sport seats (the base model gets cloth seats and feature grey piping, while the perforated leather seats of the Autobahn version get red accents. The standard leather-wrapped sport multifunction steering wheel and available sport HMI display is borrowed from the GTI. The 35th-Anniversary model has unique seat tags, floormats and sill kickplates.
The 2019 Jetta GLI comes with a 2.0L turbo engine delivering 228 hp (when using premium fuel, it should be noted) and 258 lb-ft of torque. This represents increases of 18 horses and 41 lb-ft of torque in comparison with the previous GLI. Performance is beefed up by the addition of a VAQ limited-slip differential and brakes taken from the Golf R and featuring red calipers, for example.
Power is delivered to the front wheels using a standard 6-speed manual transmission, while an 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission is available as an option. Models with the latter unit come with a start/stop system to improve fuel efficiency. Driving Mode Selection is also standard equipment and includes four modes to choose from: Normal, Sport, Eco, and Custom (the 35th-Anniversary model offers fifth mode, Comfort).
Volkswagen expects to start deliveries of the 2019 Volkswagen GLI to dealership in spring 2019.