It would be the thinking man’s Audi S3 alternative

Volkswagen has launched a new 2020 Jetta GLI that borrows a lot of Golf GTI visual cues, as well as its powertrain and more advanced suspension. But the new GLI is only so extreme and, in fact, in China and other markets, you can actually get an even more powerful version of it that isn’t branded as anything special. The GLI is only the most powerful Jetta you can buy in North America.

What about the Volkswagen Jetta R?

Is There Be Room in the VW Range for an Even Hotter 2020 Volkswagen Jetta R?
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What if VW decided to make a Jetta R, with the Golf R’s more powerful 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-pot and, more importantly, its all-wheel-drive system? It would obviously also have to mirror its pricing strategy to a degree, and this would put it out of the reach of most regular Jetta buyers. Yet, the formula is undeniably an attractive one, and I’m sure a Jetta R would still find homes, although they’d have to be the homes of VW-loving enthusiasts.

If it were to use the Golf R powertrain, it would have around 300 horsepower (the U.S.-spec Golf R has exactly 288 horsepower and 280 pound-feet or 380 Nm of torque) that would be spread between the two axles with a front bias.

In the U.S., it’s only offered paired to a seven-speed, dual-clutch, DSG gearbox; no manual is available.

So with the Golf R powertrain, the Jetta R would almost match it for outright performance, although it might be just a few tenths off to sprint to sixty - the Golf R achieves 60 miles per hour from naught in under 5 seconds, and the Jetta R would probably also manage similar performance. With the 4Motion all-wheel drive and the automatic gearbox with launch control, setting off in it would present little challenge time after time.

Is There Be Room in the VW Range for an Even Hotter 2020 Volkswagen Jetta R?
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In terms of design and styling, the Jetta R would have to match the Golf R’s style, so it would probably have a similar front and rear design (including the style of the exhaust tips at the back).

Like the Golf R, it would also have swollen wheel arches to accommodate its slightly wider track and rubber, and both of these characteristics would make it into the Jetta R.

But, since the Jetta R is a sedan, it would also need an obligatory trunk lid spoiler to finish of its sporty look. It could be done in naked carbon and also have the side mirror caps and other details done the same to give a consistent and sporty look. Overall, it would look a bit more understated than an Audi S3, but at the same time, it would offer similar performance at a lower price. For instance, the Golf R kicks off at $40,395, whereas for a new Audi S3, you’d need at least $44,500.

In order to try to visualize what a Jetta R would look like, I made this rendering that I think is quite accurate. It previews a model that will probably never happen, even though many people I’m sure would like one, especially finished in one of the crazy colors that the Golf R is available in.

Further reading

2019 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.

2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

What do you think?
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