Volkswagen has a long tradition of offering special editions with limited production, and the Jetta Fahrenheit GLI grabs your attention with its bright yellow paint.
This special Jetta also has 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, special badging, sport bucket seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with yellow stitching. Prices start at $27,880 for the manual transmission and $28,955 for the automatic. Only 1,200 will be built.
In this country, the Jetta has long been one of VW's most popular models, and the Fahrenheit is even more appealing because of its sporty character and distinctive looks.
In the 1980s, the Jetta was essentially a Golf with a trunk grafted on. Today, the Jetta is a full-fledged sedan that shares its platform with the Golf, now called the Rabbit for our market.
Although the Jetta has grown up during the last 25 years, it has not lost any of its sporty character in spite of being considerably more refined. Slip into the GLI Fahrenheit's deeply contoured sport seats, stab the throttle of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and you're rewarded with brisk performance that puts a smile on your face.
The 200-horspower four-cylinder has a nicely linear power band, and it responds like an engine of greater size. There is no discernible turbo lag so acceleration is strong from rest to top speed.
The test car's transmission was the six-speed manual, but a Direct Shift Gearbox is optional. The DSG is a manual transmission with an automatic clutch, yet it functions like an automatic.
The cabin is a good example of thoughtful design. The fit and finish, the blend of surface textures and the feel of controls are all first rate. The Fahrenheit's additional features, such as heated seats, heated outside mirrors, alloy pedals and bright yellow bits of interior trim add spice to an already saucy car. Volkswagen interiors continue to be among the best in the business, and the Jetta shows why.
The sport seats deserve a special mention because they are among the best I've experienced regardless of price. They have long under-thigh bolsters, the perfect amount of lumbar support and side bolsters that hold you in place without feeling confining. It's not often that I settle into a car seat that feels as if it were made just for me.
The Jetta's styling is clean and crisp, although some may think the car looks too much like the Passat. VW's styling signature is a bold grille that is juxtaposed with the fluid lines of the body. The nose is low and the trunk high for aerodynamics. Large, bright headlights are very expressive.
Rear-seat legroom has always been tight in the Jetta, but the longer wheelbase gives back-seat passengers a little more knee room.
The trunk is big, and it can be expanded with the 60/40 split-folding rear seat.
The GLI's sports suspension gives the car a solid feel in turns and at highway speeds. The steering is electronic rack and pinion.
Safety features include side airbags for the front seats, side-curtain airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners. The pedals are designed to move during impact.
Four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes are standard, as is vehicle stability control, traction control and an electronic locking differential.
Price The base price of the test car was $27,880. The only option was Sirius satellite radio. The sticker price was $28,895.
Warranty Four years or 50,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.