2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI packs Golf GTI tech into sports sedan

Chris Davies - Feb 7, 2019, 9:45 am CDT
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI packs Golf GTI tech into sports sedan

Volkswagen has revealed the 2019 Jetta GLI, wrapping the 2.0-liter TSI engine of the Golf GTI in a performance sedan body. Making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show 2019 today, the new GLI packs 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, along with tapping into tech from both the GTI and the Golf R.

It’s based on VW’s MQB architecture, unsurprisingly, just like the more mainstream 2019 Jetta. However into that the automaker drops its EA888 TSI engine, for 18 hp and 41 lb-ft more than the outgoing Jetta GLI. There’s variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides, along with variable exhaust valve lift.

Power is routed to the front wheels, and VW is giving a nod to purists by spec’ing a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Those who prefer not to row their own gears have the option of a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic instead. That comes with auto start/stop, too.

Independent sport suspension is standard, with a strut-type setup at the front and multi-link for the rear wheels. 13.4-inch vented front disc brakes are shared with the Golf GTI and R, too, and there’s the VAQ electronically-controlled, torque sensing limited-slip differential. Variable ratio electric power steering is standard, and the 2019 Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary model will also get DCC adaptive damping.

Drivers get four drive modes to choose between: Normal, Sport, Eco, and Custom. The latter allows the various settings – steering, throttle, front differential, engine note, and climate control – to be adjusted individually. The 35th Anniversary GLI will also offer control over damping settings in Custom mode, as well as add a fifth, Comfort mode.

Inside, heated seats and dual-zone climate control are standard. There’s keyless entry and start, together an infotainment system that works with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is standard, as is forward collision warnings, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, and automatic post-collision braking.

Options will include a sunroof and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. That replaces the standard analog gages with a fully-digital display, complete with special GLI graphics. A 400W BeatsAudio system, VW Car-Net connected services, SiriusXM, Voice Control, and a second USB port are also available, as is a power driver seat with memory and lumbar adjustment, ventilated seats, and remote start.

As you’d expect, like the regular Jetta the 2019 Jetta GLI gets VW’s six year/72,000 mile warranty. That can also be transferred to subsequent owners.

VW says the 2019 Jetta GLI will arrive in dealerships in the spring of 2019. There’ll be both the regular trim, and the 35th Anniversary Edition. Pricing for both will be confirmed closer to the on-sale date.

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