Pays tribute to the Jetta Mk2

The latest-generation Volkswagen Jetta was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and promises to reshape the affordable compact segment with its design and features. Although it’s slightly cheaper than the outgoing model, it’s decidedly more modern inside the cabin and has enough features to tackle the upper market of the affordable compact segment. It’s plenty powerful too, using a 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. With the sedan arriving at dealers in May 2018, Volkswagen celebrates the new-generation Jetta with a tuned-up model developed by Fifteen52. It’s based on the R-Line model, and it’s called the SoCal Concept.

Inspired by the second-generation Jetta that was built between 1984 and 1992 in Pennsylvania, the SoCal concept is described as a "heritage-based design with modern accents." I can’t really spot those heritage design cues Volkswagen is talking about (I’m probably not old enough), but the concept sedan definitely looks unique. And it’s not too wild either, so the German could offer this four-door in a limited-edition production model. It probably won’t happen, but it remains an interesting take on a popular and affordable model.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Jetta R-Line SoCal Concept.

What Makes the Volkswagen Jetta R-Line SoCal Concept Special?

  • Custom white paint
  • Fluorescent yellow accents
  • Geodesic design roof
  • Black graphics
  • R-Line features
  • 19-inch wheels
  • Prototype coilover suspension
  • Three-inch lower height
  • Standard engine and interior
2018 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line SoCal Concept Exterior
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The fluorescent yellow mirror caps and the yellow accents on the wheels make it stand out even more

The SoCal Concept is surprisingly white. Not because the Jetta palette doesn’t include white, but this is a different shade, and it also comes with matching wheels. Of course, the fluorescent yellow mirror caps and the yellow accents on the wheels make it stand out even more. Speaking of accents, the "R" on the front grille is also finished in bright yellow, while the beltline that runs through the door handles has black trim.

The wheels, created by Fifteen52 in a multi-spoke design, are wrapped in low profile tires. The sedan also sits lower than usual thanks to a new suspension system. The roof is unique too. Finished in black for a strong contrast with the white body, it features a geodesic design in fluorescent yellow. Volkswagen also added black graphics with white "Jetta" lettering on the rear fenders.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line SoCal Concept Exterior
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The SoCal Concept rides on a prototype coilover system developed by KW Automotive

Being an R-Line model, the four-door also benefits from the updates that come with this package, including the black front grille, the lower black mirror caps, and the sportier rear bumper with dual exhaust. The standard wheels on the R-Line model measure 17 inches, but Fifteen52’s roller are notably bigger at 19 inches.

There’s no word on cabin and drivetrain updates, so it’s safe to assume that there are none, but the SoCal Concept rides on a prototype coilover system developed by KW Automotive. It features adjustable top mounts and lowers the ride height by three inches. It’s not much, but it gives the Jetta a more aggressive stance when paired with the 19-inch wheels.

Needless to say, this design could use a more powerful engine, but the concept probably features the same turbocharged, 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. I’m sure customers won’t mind a production version of this car with the standard engine, but it’s unlikely for Volkswagen to build one anytime soon.


2019 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior
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Massive grille

Read our full review on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.

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Press release

2019 Jetta R-Line SoCal concept
In celebration of the launch of the seventh-generation Jetta, which lands in dealers this month, Volkswagen has been looking back on its predecessors for inspiration. The SoCal concept is a heritage-based design with modern accents. Taking inspiration from the Mk2 Jetta, the body graphics give a nod to the past while drawing attention to the strong vehicle design. Other visual highlights include fluorescent yellow mirror caps, a gloss black roof with geodesic fluorescent yellow design, and body-color wheels with yellow accents. SoCal-based wheel and automotive design company fifteen52 developed the overall concept, giving the car clean lines but with an aggressive stance. KW automotive developed a prototype ST XTA Coil Over system with adjustable top mounts to lower the ride height 3 inches to properly showcase the fifteen52 Formula GT 19- x 8.5-inch wheels. Additional design elements will be added later in the season.

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