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2018 volkswagen Jetta GLI

The Jetta GLI is the performance-oriented, range-topping model in Volkswagen's compact sedan lineup. Historically, the GLI nameplate has been to the Jetta what GTI is to the Golf.

Recent changes
The current-generation GLI is nearing the end of its career. For the latest model year, Volkswagen dropped the six-speed manual transmission from the line-up.

Overview
Up front, the Jetta GLI borrows styling cues such as a mesh grille, claw-shaped trim on the lower bumper, and red inserts from the GTI. Out back, it has a discreet air diffuser integrated into the bumper, a small lip spoiler and smoked tail lamps.

The cabin of the GLI features sport bucket seats with red stitching and a sport flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching, the GLI logo and aluminum accents. The overall interior styling consistently follows the sporty exterior lines of the car and includes a soft-touch dashboard and other premium interior trimming that were stripped out of lesser Jetta models for cost reasons.

The GLI is available in cloth or V-Tex Leatherette and also features alloy pedals, shifter, dash and door trim. To increase versatility, the rear bench seatback is split 60/40 and folds.

Specifications sheet
The GLI benefits a four-link independent rear suspension with an upgraded anti-roll bar. This setup helps it hug the corners like a GTI with a trunk.

The GLI also accelerates like a GTI thanks to a powertrain taken directly from Volkswagen's sporty hatchback. Underhood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque that shifts through a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The DSG comes with steering wheel-mounted paddles for sequential-style shifting and rev-matched downshifts as well as a launch control function for speedy acceleration runs.

Equipped with the DSG, the GLI is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.

Standard and optional equipment/strong>
The Volkswagen Jetta GLI is available in SE and SEL trim levels.

The GLI SE comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lamps, keyless entry with a push-button ignition, dual-zone A/C, a sunroof, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a rear-view camera, parking sensors on both ends, V-Tex upholstery, a Fender audio system, rain-sensing wipers, heated seats, and automatic headlights.

The SEL model gains a blind spot detection system with rear cross traffic alert, navigation, a bigger touch screen, bi-xenon headlights, and a Homelink transceiver.

The list of options includes summer performance tires.

Safety
The Jetta GLI includes several features designed to enhance driver and passenger safety including electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, a rear-view camera and Volkswagen's advanced Intelligent Crash Response System, which initiates automatic safety protection in some types of collisions -- the electrical supply to the fuel pump is shut off, the doors unlock and the hazard lights switch on.

The GLI also features driver and front passenger airbags, dual side airbags in front and dual Side Curtain Protection airbags in front and rear.

Key competitors
The Jetta GLI's main rivals include the Honda Civic Si and the Subaru WRX.