High-end options and feel in a small package, powerful engine, superb handling
Volkswagen's GLI was reintroduced in 2012, based on the all-new Jetta platform. Underneath the familiar Jetta body, the GLI has been tuned for performance, with a specialized sport suspension system as well as 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 2013. It makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque at just 1,700 rpm, which helps maximize 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 that automatic.
The GLI features a track-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension system, much like what's used on the GTI. Also carried over is 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: the GLI, GLI Autobahn and GLI Autobahn with Navigation. The GLI starts at $23,945, 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 $26,195 and 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 $28,200, featuring in-dash navigation, a backup camera, bi-xenon headlights and keyless entry with push-button start.
2013 Jetta GLI's receive a brand new launch control system on DSG equipped cars. The launch control uses the cars computer to find the perfect RPM for a quick getaway, deftly balancing engine power and wheel spin. Autobahn with Navigation-equipped Jettas also get rear backup cameras as well as bi-xenon headlights with LEDs for 2013.
The GLI has always stood for inexpensive performance and is 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 such as the Subaru WRX and Honda Civic Si. But at just $24,000, it's the least-expensive European sports sedan on the market, and that gives it impressive value.
Vehicle Price: 30,095.00
*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.
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