High-end options and feel in a small package, powerful engine, superb handling
Volkswagen's GLI returns as an all new model for 2012, based on the all-new Jetta platform. Underneath the familiar Jetta body, the GLI has been tuned for performance, with a specialized sporty suspension system and some tech items lifted from the popular GTI. Volkswagen says the GLI is the most differentiated Jetta model ever made by the company, offering aggressive performance in an easy-to-live-with package.
A turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder is the only engine offered on the GLI for 2012. It makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque at just 1,700 rpm, which helps improve response and drivability. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but Volkswagen also offers an optional 6-speed DSG automatic, which features steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Volkswagen says the powertrain should be good for 31 mpg highway with the manual and 32 mpg highway with the DSG automatic.
The GLI features a track-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension system much like what's used on the GTI, as well as the GTI's XDS differential system, which helps limit inside wheelspin under hard cornering. Four-wheel disc brakes with red calipers are standard across the line, all of which add up to much sharper handling and road feel than what's offered on other Jetta models.
Standard safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers. Other features include electronic stability control, tire pressure monitors, and Volkswagen's Intelligent Crash Response System, which automatically cuts power to the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and turns on the 4-way hazard lights in certain types of accidents.
Three GLI trims are available for 2011: the GLI, GLI Autobahn and GLI Autobahn with Navigation. The GLI starts at $23,495, and features cloth sport seats with red stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, a 6.5-inch touchscreen stereo with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and one-touch power windows on all four doors. The GLI Autobahn is priced at $25,545 and it takes the package one step further, offering 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, a Fender sound system, dual-zone climate control and heated V-Tex leatherette seats. The premium-level GLI Autobahn with Navigation is offered at $26,445, featuring in-dash navigation, as well as keyless entry with push-button start.
After a 2-year hiatus, the GLI returns as the sportiest trim level in the Jetta lineup. This all-new model features a sophisticated multi-link independent rear suspension system, a 200-hp turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. Inside, the GLI features sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, both of which set it apart from other Jetta models.
The GLI has always stood for inexpensive performance, and after several years' hiatus, the model returns for 2012, aimed squarely at buyers looking for a peppy yet still affordable sports sedan. It's reasonably competitive in a generally crowded segment, going up against cars like the Subaru WRX and Honda Civic Si. But at just $24,000, it's the cheapest European sports sedan on the market, and that gives it great bang for the buck.
Vehicle Price: 24,515.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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