Sunday, February 13, 2011

VW Addresses Jetta Complaints with New GLI Model that gets 200HP and Euro Suspension

When American buyers learned that the European market version of the Jetta came with better and more modern engines, improved materials and a four-link rear suspension system similar to that fitted to the Golf, they felt somewhat let down - even though these changes came with a hefty price increase for European consumers. Now, VW is trying to address some of these concerns with the presentation of the new Jetta GLI, which debuts today at the Chicago Auto Show.

The new model is the most differentiated Jetta GLI model ever. First of all, it is powered by Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, generating 200 horsepower and a 207 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1,700 rpm. The four-cylinder unit is paired to a standard six speed manual gearbox or an optional dual-clutch DSG transmission. VW said that while EPA figures are not yet available, the Jetta GLI is expected to deliver 31 mpg highway with the manual and 32 mpg highway with the DSG.

The turbocharged engine isn't the only significant change over the standard Jettas as the GLI gets the European version's four-way independent rear suspension instead of the torsion beam setup found on the other N.A.-spec models. Furthermore, the GLI benefits from the Golf GTI's XDS cross differential system that helps prevent inside wheel spin during cornering, plus beefier four wheel disc brakes with floating red calipers.

On the outside, the GLI is distinguished by the 17- or 18-inch alloy rims, a newly styled front bumper, a honeycomb grille with silver accents, smoked taillights and twin exhaust outlets. Inside, the range-topping Jetta gets sport bucket seats with red stitching, a sport flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching and additional standard features such as a 6.5-inch touch screen premium VIII radio with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.

Now, the question is will all those that complained about the standard Jettas pay the price for these upgrades as the new GLI has a starting MSRP of $23,495. Dig a little deeper in your pockets and $25,545 will get you the better equipped GLI Autobahn that adds 18-inch alloys, sunroof, dual zone climate control, heated V-Tex Leatherette seats and the Fender Premium Audio System. Another $900 for a grand total of $26,445 will get you the Jetta GLI Autobahn with an RNS-315 navigation system and keyless access with push-button start technology.

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