As expected, VW has pulled the wraps off its new 2019 Jetta GLI at the Chicago Auto Show, giving us the seventh generation of the compact sport sedan since its original debut in 1984.
Using the same 2.0-liter turbo inline-four engine with the VW Golf GTI, the new Jetta GLI offers 228hp and 258lb-ft of torque and a choice between a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The chassis sits 0.6 inches lower than the standard Jetta, thanks to the GLI’s sports suspension that features a strut-type setup at the front and a multilink arrangement at the back. The brakes are shared with the Golf GTI and the Golf R, with 13.4-inch rotors up front.
As with the Golf GTI, the new 2019 VW Jetta GLI comes fitted with the company’s electronically controlled limited-slip differential, as well as a variable-ratio electric steering system. 35th anniversary models will also offer VW’s DCC adaptive suspension as standard.
VW has spiced up the exterior of the Jetta GLI by taking styling cues from the Golf GTI, including a black honeycomb grille with the characteristic red stripe, red calipers, a unique rear bumper with an integrated diffuser and twin chrome exhaust tips. As standard, the new Jetta GLI will come with LED projector headlights and a set of model-specific 18-inch alloy wheels.
The company will also offer the aforementioned 35th anniversary version, which will come with features such as a set of unique black wheels with a red stripe, a black roof paired with matching mirror caps and tail spoiler, as well as special badging inside and out.
The cabin of the new VW Jetta GLI has been similarly updated with a black/red combo; red stitching is applied to the steering wheel, shifter, armrest, floormats, as well as on the comfort sport seats. The base Jetta GLI comes with grey piping on cloth seats. The sporty atmosphere is enhanced by the ‘Diamond flag’ décor trim, always according to VW.
Standard kit is pretty generous and includes everything from heated seats and dual-zone automatic climate control to ambient lighting and an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers can also opt for features like the Digital Cockpit display, a 400-watt BeatsAudio system, telematics and more.
Sales of the new VW Jetta GLI are expected to start in this spring, offered in two regular trim levels and the range-topping 35th anniversary edition.
Article updated with live imagery from the Chicago Auto Show