Front wheel drive not your thing? Then it’s best to look elsewhere. This GLI is a front wheel screamer, and it is every bit as fun as some cars that are all, or even rear wheel drive. When finished in Tornado Red paint, you are sure to turn the head of every police officer you come across.
Let us admit, the newest Jetta isn’t the most attractive looking vehicle on the road today. That being said, Volkswagen really turned up the volume on the GLI with a totally new exterior look. New front grille, bumpers, and wheels make the GLI stand out to those who are savvy enough to notice. On the inside, there are a couple differences that any studious VW owner would see. First off would be the sport leatherette seats with red contrast stitching which continues onto the flat-bottomed sport steering wheel. The seats feel good to sit in, and the wheel feels great in the hands; that’s a great start, and all you want to do is turn the key and drive.
The drive is just flat out fun. Fun is something that we don’t come across too often these days, and it’s reassuring to know that someone still knows how to do fun. You turn the key, eliciting a mild grumble from a raspy 2.0L I4, put the 6-speed DSG in drive, and you just go blasting down whatever road you can find. Put the transmission in sport, or use the paddles, and you’re rewarded with rev-matched downshift blips and more usability of the 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Keeping the engine on boil in the 3,000RPM and up range is your best bet for fun. Surprisingly, its also best to leave the traction control on as well since the GLI has some traction issues on hard acceleration from a standstill. But isn’t that the fun part of front wheel drive? Listening to the two front wheels chirping and squealing for grip is one of the great pleasures of driving. When coming to a corner, the limited slip differential keeps everything as tidy as possible with a car that has drive wheels that steer as well, but there is some understeer at the limit of adhesion.
As mentioned before, the fun factor is always there. To make sure you have even more fun, the Fender audio system is always up to the task at blaring out your favorite tunes. The touchscreen interface is simple to use, and the buttons give off an audible beep when you click something, even if it is the wrong thing.
Our tester was the Autobahn trim line. That means you get the quite fantastic looking 18″ Bathhurst wheels, as well as the Fender premium audio system, leatherette seats, heated front seats, a sunroof and dual zone climate control. The premium for all the added goodness is $2,250 over the base GLI.
Overall, the Jetta GLI really adds some heat to the diverse Jetta lineup. Regardless of color, you will always be rewarded with a car that isn’t so much a track king, but one that is a fun back road cruiser that is also capable of taking the young ones to school the next morning. Fun is a word that isn’t thrown around too often these days, and we appreciate everything that Volkswagen did with this car, and we will honor that by always taking the fun way home.
|2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn
|As Tested MSRP||$28,090|