Many people were disappointed with the newly released Volkswagen Jetta. Its façade is a step backward from what was expected from VW, with its ancient engine, base trim and its bigger, heavier and cheaper design. Americans sure wanted a larger Jetta, with a more competitive price and a bigger back seat, but UK VW drivers were less than thrilled about these changes.
We also had an unenjoyable riding and driving experience, which is a thumbs down for VW loyalists, especially those from the Car and Driver team. However, despite all these, VW still saw a lot of sales after its launch, all the more so when the Jetta GLI was released to redeem the Jetta.
First off, take note that the GLI is not just a replica of the Jetta with more motor thrown in. This release dumps the Jetta’s standard rear axle torsion-beam to provide a more reliable multi-linked rear suspension, which gave the GLI a more independent suspension that does a great job in lessening body wobbles and shaky transitions.
The GLI is significantly lower than the Jetta, which allows for a sportier look while lowering its centre of gravity.
Just as the last gen GLI, the VW is propelled by a turbocharged 4-banger connected to a dual clutch automatic or a manual engine, with 6 speeds on both. The car has low-end torque ranging at 1700 rpm, peaking at 207 lb/ft right above the idle, making it one of our most favorite engines in the market.
Applied to most Volkswagen except the Chrysler-made Routan and the Touareg, this engine appears in many Audi cars, too. As with the GTI, the 2.0 litres iron bloc engine roars at 200 hp. Another thing that the GLI has over the GTI is its rumbly, throaty exhaust note. When you mash the throttle, you’ll think that the noise is coming from a sports car instead of a little turbo engine.