2019 VW Jetta GLI With 228HP Is American For Golf GTI Sedan

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



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  • They could have done more to give it a sportier look. It doesn’t have any fog lights, however this would be the only Jetta I would consider getting.

  • performante

    It’s nice to see VW keeping the GLI alive. There aren’t too many entry level performance sedans. Let alone any that offer a manual transmissions. Come to think of it, this is probably one of the few manual sedans left.

    • Jason Miller

      Hyundai Elantra Sport, Forte GT

  • Rani

    It has an independent rear. nice!

  • An Existing Person

    I like it. It’s a bit too safe of a change and design compared to the regular Jetta, but no doubt this will sell.

  • Mr. EP9

    They can get angry all they want, I’m still calling it a Jetta.

  • Nexus7

    No Sportwagen?

    • diesel_vdub

      Not for the Jetta… it’s now the Golf Sportwagen and has been for several years.

  • Jason Miller

    This car wasn’t made for you then.

  • eb110americana

    I don’t think, in the Jetta’s segment, you could find a more bland and unattractive alternative. Even Corollas look more exciting these days.

    • dumblikeyou2

      What’s sadder is that only two years ago we all saw spy photos of what we were all lead to believe was some “Chinese” version of a Jetta and “oh thank God” other regions won’t be getting this Jetta design. It still feels like some sort of FU from VW for dieselgate.

  • 31/12/2999

    Just when I thought it was ugly now is more

  • Paul

    Hmmm. It’s OK I guess. But Hey you can still get a manual in it.


    • Alx

      Agreed. Awfully integrated.

  • Jesse

    the GTI isn’t any more different from a Golf than this is to a normal Jetta, yet people rave about the GTI styling, and hate this. I don’t get it. i think the car looks great. HP and torque are pretty good too. add in a manual and digital cockpit and i think this is a great package.

  • E35II

    Wow. 228 hp…..I’m underwhelmed.

    • performante

      It’s more like ~265 to the wheels. MK7 GTI’s have dyno’d in around this much, stock.

  • SteersUright

    Despite a lack of any fender to speak of and rather horrendous Honda Accord looking wheels, this is a rather intriguing and feature rich offering.

  • Jo Bo

    Looks like a Honda in that grey paintjob.

  • Alx

    They really haven’t integrated that red stripe, headlights and grille well… at all.

  • dumblikeyou2

    Nope. Nothing can save this homely design.

  • Puddingpopper

    so bonk, cant believe a team of people thought this looked good

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