Chicago - VeeDub fans who were around in the late 1980s will remember with some fondness a certain sedan called the Jetta CLI 16V, which was essentially a Golf GTI with a boot.
The CLI’s appeal faded however, when the third-generation of the early ‘90s only offered only an eight-valve option and the badge disappeared altogether after that, although we still got some hot Jettas in the form of the VR6 and the later 2.0T models.
Americans, on the other hand, have always had a hot Jetta, similar to our CLI in spirit, and called the GLI. It never went away and now there’s a brand new version. However, as with rest of the left-hand-drive-only, seventh-generation Jetta line-up, the new GLI won’t be coming to South Africa.
If you can handle the FOMO, let’s take a look at what we’re missing.
For starters the new GLI is powered by the same EA888 2-litre turbopetrol engine that motivates the Golf GTI, with 170kW and 350Nm on command. Drive is of course to the front wheels only and buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission.
The GLI also gets its braking system from the GTI, as well as its torque-sensing limited slip differential and lowered sports suspension, while the 35th Anniversary edition gets an adaptive damping system that improves the ride quality when it’s not play time.
Distinguishing the GLI from humbler Jettas are unique front and rear bumpers as well as a honeycomb grille with GLI badging and a red accent line, a rear spoiler, chrome-tipped dual exhaust system and unique 18-inch alloys. That aforementioned Anniversary edition also gets black wheels with a red stripe, as well as black treatment for the mirror caps, roof and spoiler.
All Jetta GLI’s get a black interior colour scheme with red accents and stitching througout as well as ‘Diamond Flag’ decor trim and a 10-colour ambient lighting system.