In a very brief video on its social media channels, Volkswagen displayed the front end of a Jetta GLI that looks set to debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. The GLI version of the Jetta has, in past generations, been a sportier version of the Jetta sedan, with a slightly more powerful engine, sport suspension and some go-fast looks.
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So far, all we've seen is a black honeycomb grille bisected by a bright-red accent line and red GLI badging. We'll likely have to wait for the actual auto show proper for more details, but this version is sure to follow the same pattern as previous Jetta GLIs.
The new GLI is likely to be both sportier and more powerful than the current Jetta. The tagline for the promo video says, "Body of a sedan, heart of a GTI." If we're lucky, that means the GLI will get the most up-to-date 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the GTI. At 228 horsepower, that would be a significant upgrade over the current Jetta's 147 hp.
The Jetta has a six-speed manual transmission standard, so don't expect that to change for the GLI — although the gear ratios may be altered for sportier driving and the shifter's throws shortened a bit. We may also get lucky and receive the GTI's dual-clutch seven-speed automatic instead of a retuned version of the current Jetta's eight-speed auto.
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Top-of-the-line SEL Premium Jettas currently start at $28,590, including an $895 destination charge. If pricing for the GLI also follows the pattern of previous generations, expect it to be priced even higher, easily crossing the $30,000 threshold with optional equipment.
We'll have all the details on the new GLI once it's revealed on Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show. Check back in with us then, as we'll have our full team of automotive journalists reporting on all the auto-show action straight from the exhibit floor.
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