2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI at 2011 Chicago Auto Show

  • Competes with: Honda Civic Si, Ford Focus ST
  • Looks like: A somewhat sportier Jetta
  • Drivetrain: 200-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder, six-speed manual or DSG automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: May 2011 

The new Volkswagen Jetta has sure sparked debate online regarding its somewhat downmarket interior appointments, but there’s no denying the new model has been a strong seller with a solid value statement.
More 2011 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Not surprisingly, VW is adding a performance version, called the GLI, just as it did with the previous generation. Like the standard Jetta, the entire car is brand new, save the powertrain. The same 200-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder powers this GLI that powered the last GLI.
It’s a peppy package, and the previous model delivered a fun driving experience. The 2012 will start at $23,495, which is less than the last time it was offered as a 2009; that GLI started at $24,770. Highway mileage is expected to be 31 mpg with the manual transmission and 32 mpg with the DSG.

The 2012 features the typical upgrades, such as a track-tuned suspension, cross-differential and four-wheel-disc brakes with red calipers. Base models get 17-inch wheels, while 18s are on higher trims.
All trim levels get a 6.5-inch touch-screen stereo, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Moving up to the Autobahn trim at $25,545 adds a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated leatherette seats and a Fender premium stereo.
The $26,445 Autobahn with Navigation trim adds a navigation unit, along with keyless entry and push-button start.
We’ll have a firsthand look at the GLI tomorrow with more photos.
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