2019 VW Jetta GLI Vs. 2019 VW Golf GTI: More Different Than Expected

Here comes the inevitable comparison review everyone has been waiting ever since Volkswagen revealed the all-new 2019 Jetta GLI.

The affordable sports sedan faces its hatchback equivalent, the 2019 Golf GTI. Both models are based on the same MQB platform and share key components, including the 228 hp 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the transmission (a standard six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic).

Other common parts include the front brakes, electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, variable-ratio electric power steering system, and much more.

It’s important to mention that the base 2019 Jetta GLI undercuts the 2019 Golf GTI by $1,600 in the United States. In theory, that should make it the obvious choice for the budget-minded customer. In reality, things are not that simple, as this review from Cars.com reveals.

Also watch: All-New VW Jetta GLI: The American Petrolhead’s Compact Sedan?

In the video, the cars are subjected to a series of measured tests, and the results are very close. For example, the Jetta GLI beats the Golf GTI from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) and in the quarter-mile run. However, the margins are absolutely insignificant.

Mind you, the results are not that relevant when you take into account the fact that the VW Golf GTI was on all-season tires while the Jetta GLI was fitted with summer tires. As a result, in the 60-0 mph braking test, the sedan needed a much shorter distance to come to a complete stop compared to the hatchback.

One can’t help but wonder if the very different sets of tires compromise the results of this comparison review. To some extent, they do, but at the same time, they reveal how capable the Golf GTI is — even with the tire handicap, it’s still almost as quick as the 2019 Jetta GLI.

The GTI aced the handling course but lost to the GLI in the everyday usability category. Overall, the video reveals that there are more differences than similarities between the two hot VWs.


  • Stephen G

    Who cares. I don’t believe someone shopping for a sport sedan would cross shop a sport hatch.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    All what i know is that the design of “Commoner’s” cars in the VW group is getting so oversimplified that soon they will be selling squared boxes to enthusiast consumers hooked on the badge. And no one seems to realize.

  • SteersUright

    GLI is all new, the GTI is set to launch next year. I’d prefer to see that review over this. That said, I’m super impressed that VW finally gave the GLI the love it deserved and made it a proper, affordable, sports sedan. It’s likely just lowering springs and serious tires away from excellence.

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