VW solidifies commitment to small cars with debut of new 2019 Jetta GLI performance sedan
Volkswagen has introduced the sixth-generation of the Jetta GLI performance sedan following the introduction of the all-new 2019 VW Jetta last year. The GLI features sportier handling and engine output thanks to parts sharing with the Golf GTI and Golf R. Unveiling the Jetta GLI, VW said it was solidifying its commitment to small cars.
"Volkswagen has long been synonymous with small, sporty cars," said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America at the Jetta GLI's unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show. He further explained that the new Jetta GLI builds on the new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta foundation by adding performance features from the Golf GTI and R models "to give buyers a true sport sedan."
The 2019 VW Jetta GLI adds some styling cues to differentiate it from the standard Jetta models, starting with a slightly lower stance, with the GLI model being about 0.6 inches (1.52 cm) lower in body height. This gives the Jetta GLI a more planted appearance that is further augmented by the black honeycomb grille with its red accent line. A rear spoiler on the deck lid and unique finned rear diffuser set off by chromed exhaust tips also add to the sporty look of the Jetta GLI.
A special 35th anniversary model of the Jetta GLI will be sold in limited numbers for 2019, featuring unique badging and color codes. These include black wheels with a red stripe, a black roof, black mirror caps, and a black spoiler.
The 2019 Jetta GLI also features standard LED projector headlights and LED daytime running lights. The interior of the GLI features several accents and changes to denote its sportier status, including diamond flag trim decor and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. Available Autobahn perforated leather seating and a sport human machine interface (HMI) display are also options.
Powering the new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine that produces 228 horsepower (170 kW) on premium fuel and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque. That is 18 more HP and 41 lb-ft more than the previous-generation GLI. This is the same engine found in the Golf GTI, including its variable valve timing for intake and exhaust as well as variable exhaust valve lift.
That engine mates with a six-speed manual transmission in front-wheel drive. This manual transmission can be upgraded to a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic transmission tuned for the Jetta GLI's size. Both transmissions are also shared with the Golf GTI, as is the VAQ electronically-controlled, torque-sensing, limited-slip differential designed to eliminate understeer. The 35th Anniversary model has VW's DCC adaptive damping system, which is available as an option on the standard Jetta GLI. DCC adjusts damping settings in the suspension to match driver expectations as set through the drive mode selection.
The GLI model also comes standard with heated seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, keyless doors and push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Volkswagen's AppConnect and smartphone integration are also standard, as is Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink connectivity. Standard safety and driver convenience features include forward collision warning with autonomous braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, and post-collision braking.
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI will enter the U.S. market in the second quarter of 2019. Pricing and other details will be announced closer to launch date.