While the Golf (Rabbit) GTI is known for helping to create the “hot hatch” segment of the sport-compact market in the early 1980s, Volkswagen’s other sporty compact from that era also has some history behind it. The Jetta GLI, introduced to the U.S. market in 1984, was essentially a Jetta with the GTI’s suspension and engine. The GLI arguably helped to invent the modern sports sedan. Subsequent GLI models, as well as little sporty sedans from Mercury, Infiniti, Ford, Chrysler and others followed the template Volkswagen created of a subtly modified four-door with a hot powertrain and upgraded suspension.
For 2014, VW has introduced the GLI Edition 30, to commemorate the car’s significance to its lineup. The heritage car gets eighteen-inch “Laguna” alloy wheels, a red-trimmed grille and a unique spoiler. The interior’s prettified with contrasting-color seats, red stitching on the steering wheel and shifter, carbon fiber-style trim and other touches. Like the original GLI from 1984, the GLI Edition 30 is available in black, white, red and silver.
Performance creds come from the GLI Edition 30’s new 2.0 liter turbocharged engine. Power is up to 210 from this sixteen-valve inline four-cylinder. A choice of six-speed manual or six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmissions is offered. The suspension’s lowered and features Volkswagen’s new XDS Cross Differential System, which brakes the inside front wheel during cornering to reduce understeer. It also acts as a limited-slip diferential. The brakes are also upgraded.
Volkswagen will announce pricing closer to the vehicle’s launch in 2014.