Review: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

On Sale: Fall 2011

Expected Pricing: $23,500-$26,500

Volkswagen of America continues its battle for greater popularity and market share with a continuing stream of new models, including the new GLI version of the company’s best-selling Jetta sedan. The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the most differentiated of the sports sedans dating back to the first GLI in 1984 and running up to 2009, when the Jetta GLI was last offered. The 2012 Jetta GLI is 182.2 inches long, 57.2 inches tall and 70 inches wide. This latest-generation Jetta is 3 inches longer than previous Jetta models. The Jetta GLI is distinguished by a unique grille, trapezoidal headlamps, a cool air intake and front spoiler. There will be a choice of 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels and tires. At the rear, the 2012 GLI has a new rear diffuser, a small decklid spoiler, and smoked taillights.

The 2012 GLI is powered by Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, generating 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque at just 1700 rpm, with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The new GLI is expected to deliver 31 mpg highway with the manual and 32 mpg highway with the optional DSG 6-speed automatic. The DSG features steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, quick shift duration and rev-matched downshifts. Volkswagen promises a 0-60 mph performance of less than seven seconds flat with either transmission. The GLI will be available in three trim levels, starting at $23,495. The Autobahn version, at $25,545, adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated leatherette seats and the Fender premium audio system. The top of the line model is the Autobahn with navigation, which adds the RNS-315 navigation system and keyless access, and pushbutton starting technology for $26,445.

Underneath, the new GLI will come with what VW calls a track- tuned four-way independent performance suspension, a new four-link independent rear suspension with an upsized stabilizer bar, and the patented XDS cross differential system that that helps prevent inside wheel spin during cornering, a feature that debuted on the Volkswagen GTI. Four-wheel ABS disc brakes with floating red calipers have replaced the former disc/drum braking system. Inside, there are sport bucket seats with red stitching and a sport flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching, the GLI logo and aluminum accents, with alloy floor pedals, shifter, dash and door trim. The center console is inclined toward the driver for easier reach and control. GLI interior features will include a standard 6.5-inch touch screen radio with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, power express windows, a multifunction display for vehicle status, trip, radio and navigation, with options like dual-zone climate control, available RNS-315 navigation system and keyless entry with pushbutton start, all standard on the top model. The rear bench seat is split 60/40 and folds. The trunk can be opened from inside the car by a remote unlock switch.

The Jetta GLI Autobahn and Autobahn Navigation models come with the new Fender premium audio system, a system put together by the famous American electric guitar and amplifier maker that features proprietary Panasonic speaker technology with front dual voice coil speakers, extended-range tweeters and 6.5-inch speakers. The Jetta GLI safety package features driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags in front and side curtain airbags front and rear, ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring and an automatic crash response system that cuts power to the fuel pump, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers in a collision.

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