The sixth generation of Volkswagen’s small family car was only unveiled a short time ago at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, but the German automaker has already found a way to persuade more money out of the wallets of potential Jetta owners with a new version of the vehicle. The 2011 Chicago Auto Show has welcomed the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, a new model that will be offered in three trim levels: base GLI, GLI Autobahn, and GLI Autobahn with Navigation.

The base model will feature a sportier look, a performance-oriented interior, better performance, and an impressive list of standard equipment. The GLI Autobahn then adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated V-Tex leatherette seats, and a Fender-branded audio system. Claim the top-of-the-line GLI and you’ll get all of that plus Volkswagen’s RNS-315 navigation system, keyless entry, and push-button start.

Sales for the Jetta GLI will begin in Spring 2011 with prices starting at $23,495. The GLI Autobahn’s goodies will increase the price to $25,545, while the GLI Autobahn with Navigation is priced at $26,445. The extra $10,000 added to the GLI model may scare some potential owners from looking further, but this version may just have enough style and technology to fully make up for the extra bills.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

  • 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
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    2.0 L
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2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI High Resolution Exterior
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The sixth generation Jetta features a high-gloss black radiator grille, a fully painted bumper, a sporty cooling air intake, and a tray-shaped front spoiler, as well as a v-shaped engine hood ending at the fenders on the sides. The GLI version will have some of these same elements, but will get a more distinctive front grille and trapezoidal headlights. The car sits on standard 17" alloy wheels (18" are offered as standard on the GLI Autobahn), while the rear gets smoked taillights and dual exhaust tips.


2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI High Resolution Interior
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Compared to a standard Jetta, the GLI version gets a sportier and more performance-oriented interior with sport bucket seats with red stitching, a sport flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching, and different aluminum accents. The Jetta GLI is available in cloth or V-Tex Leatherette.

The center console gets newly designed and intuitive controls for climate and radio. The console is also slightly inclined toward the driver to heighten comfort behind the wheel.

The list of equipment includes: 6.5” touch screen premium VIII radio with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, standard one-touch up/down power on all four windows, standard multifunction display (for vehicle status, trip, radio and navigation information when equipped), available dual zone climate control, available RNS-315 navigation system and available keyless entry with pushbutton start.


2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Exterior
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Under the hood of the new Jetta GLI, there is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 200 HP and a full 207 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1,700 rpm. Mated to a six speed manual transmission, the GLI offers a fuel economy of 31 mpg. When mated to a DSG automatic gearbox the fuel economy is 32 mpg.


The 2012 Jetta GLI is offered in three trim levels each with its own price tag. The base GLI is priced at $23,495, the GLI Autobahn has an MSRP of $25,545, and the Jetta GLI Autobahn with Navigation is priced at $26,445.


2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI High Resolution Exterior
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There are plenty of competitors waiting to take the sale away from the Volkswagen Jetta, but two of the more popular ones are the Subaru Impreza WRX and the Honda Civic SI.

We’re still waiting for Honda to reveal the new generation Civic SI, so we’ll have to use the current model for comparison. It is powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 197 HP and 139 lbs-ft. Fuel economy is also not up to par with the GLI and the Civic only gets 29mpg. It’s obviously less powerful and thirstier than the new Jetta GLI, but its price tag is also lower at $22,405. The customer’s best bet would be to wait for the new generation Civic to see if that model can give the Jetta GLI a run for its money.

The Impreza WRX is powered by a turbocharged/intercooled 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 265 hp and 244 lbs-ft of torque. Priced from $25,495, the WRX seems to be the best choice when put up against the Jetta GLI. The only downside to the Impreza is its fuel economy of only 25 mpg and its outdated 5-speed manual transmission.

  • Leave it
    • Less powerful than some competitors
    • Might get expensive
What do you think?
Show Comments


  (692) posted on 01.1.2012

I have to agree that this Jetta GLI is a better looking than the Jetta standard, the sportier interior is what I love the most.

  (448) posted on 11.15.2011

In spite of having only a simple detailing and style, I still can say that it was oozing with an appeal! Furthermore, its sporty interior is truly looking so impressive on it.

  (369) posted on 10.14.2011

his car 2012 volkswagen jetta gli is nice. its design is look like a toyota vios car in the phil.

  (473) posted on 08.10.2011

I must agree that this Jetta GLI is a better looking than the Jetta standard, the sportier interior is what I love the most.

  (461) posted on 03.17.2011

Forgive me for this, but I am not really a fan of the Jetta. My main concern is that the engine is less powerful than it looks. Will definitely go for a Nissan rather than this.

  (111) posted on 02.18.2011

Lately the VW line follows the BMW line... and I do not mean they resemble too much... but rather they follow each other in building poor design and setting a ugly trend.

  (592) posted on 02.17.2011

I really have nothing to complain about for the interior, but the exterior just . My dad was thinking about giving my car to my little sister and getting me the new GLI, now from seeing the new one id rather keep the one I have.

  (798) posted on 02.17.2011

I have a 2009 GLI and it’s a great car. I went to the Chicago auto show Saturday and wasn’t even expecting the new GLI to be there. When I saw it
was, I was really disappointed. This car looks no different then the new Jetta. It is extremely boring.

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