Although the VW GTI gets most of the buzz, Volkswagen will soon be celebrating a major anniversary for its other hi-po compact, in the shape of the 2014 VW Jetta GLI 30 Edition. The new car’s debut comes 30 years after the launch of the original GLI in 1984, when Volkswagen “essentially wrapped a GTI’s running gear in Jetta sheetmetal,” according to the brand.
On the other hand, the 2014 VW Jetta GLI 30 Edition will be plenty distinctive. Yes, it will still feature the aggressive body mods of today’s GLI—including exclusive front and rear valances as well as sport side skirts—but the 30 Edition then adds bigger, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a dash of red trim on the front grille, a trunklid-mounted spoiler, and special badging. In the cabin, the 2014 VW Jetta GLI 30 Edition provides V-Tex leatherette seats set off by red accents, with red stitching used to highlight the leather-wrapped steering wheel, brake handle, and shift knob, as well as the floor mats. Carbon-look inlays and "Edition 30" kickplates help complete the look, which is then complemented by standard content ranging from LED taillights to VW's "Premium VIII" audio system with Bluetooth connectivity.
Drivers also can configure the 2014 VW Jetta GLI with navigation, and that further includes LED daytime running lamps, a rearview camera and Volkswagen's Adaptive Front-lighting System.
But like any GLI, the 2014 VW Jetta GLI 30 Edition is no mere poser. Beneath the hood will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that routes 210 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Also like any GLI, the 30th anniversary model is no mere poser. Beneath the hood will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that routes 210 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. To provide some perspective here, the original 1984 GLI made do with 90 hp, while posting an EPA line of 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway/23 mpg combined with its 5-speed manual transmission. The 2014 VW Jetta GLI, on the other hand, combines an additional 120 hp and even better fuel economy: 23/33/26 with its DIY gearbox or 24/32/27 with the automatic.
Pricing comparisons, however, will have to wait until the 2014 VW Jetta GLI gets a bit closer to its on-sale date next year.