The VW Jetta GLI: A Golf GTI with a trunk, or cost-cut spiced-up sedan?

How people react to a Volkswagen Golf GTI says a lot about whether or not they actually like cars. What’s not to like? It’s more sprightly, agile and quicker than the standard Golf, yet just as practical, reliable and nearly as efficient. It has defined the hot hatch for 40 years. Company executives will even describe it as “the soul of VW.” But like it or not, mainstream America just doesn’t do hatchbacks. So it’s a good thing the GTI donates much of its formula to the Jetta equivalent, the GLI.

Being a four-door sedan, the Jetta GLI forgoes the Golf’s hatch for a bit of elongation and a conventional trunk. The balance of goodness should be pretty equal among the sportier Jetta and Golf, especially since it’s based on the same MQB car platform as the Golf.

And here’s where the qualifiers begin. The car we tested here is the GLI S, as bargain basement as GLIs and certainly GTIs come, complete with disappointing material quality at the door panels, the dash and the gauges, the latter looking like the worst of the early 2000s VW gauges, which had more of a Fisher-Price than fein feel. (The photos are of a better-equipped GLI Autobahn they sent me in DC.)

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Source: Ars Technica

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