thirty-five years ago, volkswagen launched the first version of its performance-oriented jetta gli sedan. now, for 2019, the new model returns to the redesigned jetta's lineup with a price that might also seem a little throwback-like. it starts at $26,890 — $3,550 less than the outgoing gli, though still a bit more than its closest competitor, the honda civic si, which starts at $25,220; all prices include destination.
the gli's mild styling hardly hints at the performance model's intent; it looks much like the regular jetta sedan but adds subtleties like a black grille divided by a red line, blacked-out intake surrounds below the headlights, specific 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips, a mini rear spoiler and red gli badging.
the excitement is mostly under the hood. power comes from the gli's 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder used engine — packing 18 more horsepower than the previous gli model. it's paired with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
inside, the color palette is black-and-red, with red stitching on the steering wheel, shift lever, armrest, floormats and seats. the jetta gli will be available in three trim levels: base s, autobahn and a special 35th anniversary edition. base models get black cloth seats with gray piping, and autobahn models get black perforated leather seats. anniversary models have extra badges, as well as special floormats and door sills.
the entry price is for s models and includes standards like a six-speed manual transmission, sport suspension, heated seats, 10-color ambient lighting, keyless access with push-button start, and a 6.5-inch color touchscreen with apple carplay and android auto compatibility, as well as active safety features like forward collision warning and automatic braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. base models with the automatic transmission start at $27,690.
both the 35th anniversary trim ($27,890) and the autobahn trim ($30,090) glis build off of the s trim. the anniversary models use the manual transmission and add 18-inch dark gray aluminum-alloy wheels with red rim accents, black roof, mirror caps and rear spoiler, as well as an adaptive damping system; models with the automatic start at $28,690.
the autobahn trim also features the manual transmission and adds a panoramic sunroof, a 10.25-inch reconfigurable volkswagen digital cockpit display, a premium audio system, an 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system, leather seats and ventilated front seats. with the automatic transmission, the autobahn starts at $30,890.
the 2019 volkswagen jetta gli will go on sale this spring.
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