The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI35 Is The Best “GTI with a trunk” ever

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The new 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is just right. Presented at the 2019 Chicago Motor Show, the new hot Volkswagen compact sedan gained the much-needed overhaul with a fine upgrade that came from none other than the parts bins of the Golf GTI and the Golf R. It is a thoroughly improved car, with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, gasoline engine, a fresh new look, and a far more advanced suspension compared to the lesser units. Let me just say it - rear multi-link. It has it.

With the new model introduced in Chicago, Volkswagen USA officials actually noted that the new car will come with two trim levels, while the limited edition GLI 35 serves as sort of a high-end model of the GLI world.

Now, we’ve already learned a lot about the new Volkswagen Jetta GLI, but what about the Volkswagen Jetta GLI35?

What Makes the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI35 Special?

Unfortunately, the changes between the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and the limited edition Jetta GLI35 aren’t as plentiful as some would like, but there are some things that make the Jetta GLI35 special.

First of all, Volkswagen differentiated it from the standard GLI with unique black wheels, a black roof and mirror caps, and plenty of 35th-anniversary badging. You can find the 35th-anniversary badges on the seats, floor mats, and the sill plates. Furthermore, the top-end, limited-edition GLI35 is based around the best-equipped model, so it does get all the imaginable gizmos one could have hoped to find in a Volkswagen sedan. For me, the DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control), with the fifth driving mode (four for the standard GLI) is the biggest difference. The GLI35 plays the fun game with the Normal, Sport, Eco, Custom, and Comfort. The Comfort mode is the one lacking in the standard GLI35.

Add to all of this the unique black roof, black mirror caps, and the black rear spoiler, and you have yourself a proper 35th-Anniversary Jetta GLI35. Now, the importance, or rather the uniqueness of this car, isn’t necessarily in its better tech process or better performance. The GLI35 marks the 35th anniversary since the Jetta GLI name appeared in the U.S.

Short Volkswagen Jetta GLI Timeline In The U.S.

After the introduction of the small Rabbit GTI, Volkswagen was looking for ways to gift its American buyers with something better suited for their needs. This was the upcoming of the Jetta, and most notably the Jetta GLI that was unveiled in the U.S. in 1984.

Inheriting a number of parts from the Rabbit GTI, the Jetta GLI soon became one of the favorite family haulers in the country. No, it was not as powerful, or as fast as today. It had a 90 horsepower engine, a five-speed gearbox, and a specially tuned sports suspension.

Every subsequent generation was heavily influenced by the Golf GTI:

  • 1990 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with a 2.0-liter, 16v, four-cylinder
  • 2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with a 2.8-liter, VR6 engine
  • 2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with a 1.8-liter, turbocharged engine
  • 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine
  • 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine

Interestingly enough, the third generation Jetta (one produced from 1992 to 1999) was not offered in GLI form, but it was offered as a top-notch GLX with a VR6 engine instead.

Now, this is not the first time that Volkswagen celebrated the Jetta GLI anniversary in the U.S. Five years ago, the Germans revealed a striking 2015 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Edition 30 that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the compact sporty sedan. Like the one we have learned about today, Edition 30 was differentiated with the addition of special wheels, red trim on the front grille, a whole bunch of 30th-anniversary plaques, and a multitude of gear.

This only goes to show that Volkswagen is adamant about celebrating its GLI. Can it ever be as popular as the GTI?

What Is The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Like?

The anniversary model is definitely awesome and really appealing, but you don’t have to actually go for that one to have a whole lot of fun with the newest Jetta GLI. Not only did Volkswagen update it, but it did so with the best compact car parts that it had at its disposal.

Highlights of 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI includes:

  • A new multilink independent rear suspension
  • Front brakes taken directly from the hot Golf R
  • VAQ torque-sensing limited-slip differential (usually part of the GTI performance pack) that greatly reduces the understeer tendencies
  • Completely revamped suspension with new parts that dropped the height by 0.6 inches
  • A standard Drive Mode Selection (DCC basically) with selectable modes such as the Normal, Sport, Eco, and Custom. The Jetta GLI35 gained Comfort mode as well.
  • The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is actually more aerodynamic compared to the smaller Golf GTI (thanks to sedan shape and some smart aero tricks)
  • It has an integrated spoiler, diffusor, a GTI-inspired front grille, and chrome exhaust tips
  • It is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
  • 2020 Jetta GLI and the Jetta GLI35 is fitted as standard with the super quick 7-speed DSG transmission with a start-stop feature.


2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI35
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The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI35 is an awesome way to celebrate an important anniversary. The car is precisely tailored to capture the essence of the fun Jetta GLI world, but what makes it even more interesting is its “limited edition” nature. No one knows how many units Volkswagen plans to produce. However, I would wage that it didn’t cap the production number, but did call it “limited edition” because Volkswagen can basically produce it only this year. As is the case with the standard 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI, the Jetta GLI35 will reach showrooms by the middle of 2019. Better hurry though, if you are into anniversaries, With such a neat package, you ought to be.

Further reading

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

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

2017 Volkswagen GLI - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Read our driven review on the 2017 Volkswagen GLI.

Safet Satara
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