• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI



    August 17th, 2012

    Drew Dowdell

    Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com

    A few months ago, you had Chris Doane's take on the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and now it is my turn. I am at the disadvantage that I haven't driven the recent Volkswagen GTI, since that would the GLI's direct competitor. Will my blindness to the capabilities of the GTI have me reach different a conclusion than Chris did?

    My 2012 Jetta GLI came in the proper car color of Darth Vader Helmet Black incorrectly listed as “Deep Black Metallic” on the window sticker. The interior is trimmed in black leatherette with red stitching. Standard are 18” alloys with painted black accents. Lord Vader would approve.

    med_gallery_51_303_852581.png

    Most of the parts on the interior you touch regularly have been upgraded over the lesser Jettas. The wrapped steering

    wheel feels just about perfect in your hand as does the shifter. Flat bottom steering wheels are the “new black” for sports cars, so of course the Jetta GLI has that too. The automatic dual-zone climate controls are decidedly better than the manual unit in base Jetta. Unfortunately, only the parts you regularly touch have been upgraded, so that means you still get the very hard plastic door panels and dash present in the base model.

    Volkswagen's construction of the Jetta is top notch; every seam was tight and even, the doors feel solid without feeling heavy, and the body panels line up perfectly.

    sml_gallery_51_303_1021420.jpg

    As I mentioned in the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo review, the Fender audio and navigation system offers crystal clear sound and continues to be one of the best car audio systems I have sampled lately. My only complaint here is that the screen size is such on the small side that even my Samsung Galaxy SII phone can rival it for screen space.

    The Jetta has the largest interior of the compact class. In that regard, it really is compact in EPA rating only. Sit in a “compact” Jetta and then in a “mid-size” Ford Fusion and you'll wonder what the size distinction is. Rear seat accommodations have class leading room and the comfort that goes with it. The seats are well proportioned and I fit back there nicely. Trunk cargo room is also class leading. The overall package of compact-ish outside dimensions with midsize-ish interior dimensions puts the Jetta in a unique position in the sedan crowd.

    This GLI with autobahn package and navigation stickers at $26,000. For your $26k, you get an upgraded multi-link independent suspension in the back, a 200 horsepower turbocharged 2.0 liter 4-cylinder that puts out 207 lb-ft of torque @ 1700, exterior styling tweaks such as a honeycomb grill insert and lower body spoilers.

    The Jetta GLI is a bit of a sleeper in terms of those exterior tweaks mentioned earlier, but put the GLI next to a base model Jetta and you will instantly be able to tell which is the more sporty model. Overall the improvements take the staid Jetta and turn it into a more handsome car. One of my favorite changes are the 18” alloy wheels with black painted accents and painted red brake calipers behind.


    Out on the road the turbocharged 4 cylinder has an authoritative growl. Torque comes on strong at the low end of the RPM range making the GLI a fun car to launch. Turbo lag was negligible and could only really be noticed if you were already rolling at city speeds and then wanted a sudden burst of power. I found the best way to get around the turbo lag was to down shift two gears rather than just one. I wouldn't call the 2.0T happy to rev; it is clearly most comfortable churning out the foot pounds at low rpm, but it will play along when asked. Fuel economy is respectable for the power and capabilities of this engine, and you can expect to easily crest into the mid-30s if you take it easy on the highway. Volkswagen does recommend premium fuel for best performance.

    The Jetta platform itself seems very solid and the multi-link rears suspension is a step up from the twist beam in the base model. However, it is not at the level of “sport sedan” that most would expect. Around town, the suspension gives an appropriate level of firmness and confidence that one would expect from a German sport sedan, but push the GLI hard and at speed around some corners and all of that confidence melts away into a bucket of marshmallow fluff. Given that the Jetta is also a lamb on the highway, I wonder if Volkswagen engineers turned the dial on comfort up a little too high for a true sport sedan.

    med_gallery_51_303_538563.png

    The Jetta doesn't exist in a vacuum though. So while a sports car buyer cannot ignore the presence of the Volkswagen GTI also in the showroom, family sedan buyers can't ignore the $26,000 price tag and long list of included options. At that price, the Jetta GLI is up against the cars like a middle-optioned Chevrolet Malibu or Ford Fusion. Taken in that view, the Jetta GLI becomes a screaming deal will all of the amenities it comes with that the others don't while sacrificing nothing in roominess. In spite of the Jetta's suspension shortcomings as a sport sedan, it is still has a sportier ride and acceleration than just about any other mid-size family sedan offered at this price.

    So is the Volkswagen Jetta GLI a full on German sport sedan? Not really. Is it a sporty, people's car/family sedan with a lot of value for the price? Absolutely! If you're in the mid-size family car market, you would do yourself a disservice if you did not check it out.

    Make: Volkswagen

    Model: Jetta

    Model Year: 2012

    Trim: GLI

    Engine: Transversely mounted 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged

    Transmission: Front Wheel Drive, 6-speed manual

    Max horsepower @ RPM:

    Max torque @RPM: 207 ft-lb @ 1700rpm

    EPA Fuel Economy: 22 City / 33 Highway

    Exterior color as tested: Deep Black Metallic

    Interior color as tested: Titan Black V-Tex Leatherette

    Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico

    Volkswagen provided the Jetta GLI, one tank of fuel, and insurance.

    Drew Dowdell is managing editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @cheersngears

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    I think you hit on the real point here, it's not a sport sedan, it is merely sporty.

    It's much slower than a GTI when pushed hard, the GTI is tuned much more like a pure sports car, and as such, my money would be ( and may be shortly in the future) on a GTI.

    I think it's a much more mature sporty car than the Focus ST, but I would like to see the Focus ST go back to back with the Jetta GLI, as I think it is a more direct competitor than the GTI. ST and GLI both seem more mass market, which isn't a bad thing.

    Keep us posted, and sweet car, loved your review, very well written.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. NOS2006
      NOS2006
      (29 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Ever since Martin Winterkorn resigned from his post as Volkswagen Group CEO due to diesel emission scandal sixteen months ago, he has been out of the spotlight. However, Winterkorn made his first public appearance today at a parliamentary committee in Berlin investigating the emission irregularities of automobiles. At the hearing, Winterkorn maintained his innocence, saying he had no part in the cheating, nor knew anything about it.
      “It’s incomprehensible why I wasn’t informed early and clearly. I would have prevented any type of deception or misleading of authorities,” said Winterkorn.
      Winterkorn declined to answer questions dealing with when he was informed about the scandal, saying prosecutors are still investigating.
      The defense that Winterkorn is using (not having any knowledge about the scandal until the news broke) is very much at odds with his reputation of being a detail-obsessed executive.
      “It remains difficult to believe that such a dedicated engineer like Winterkorn wasn’t aware what was going on. And if he wasn’t, he neglected his duties as supervisor,” said Stefan Bratzel, an auto industry researcher at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany to Bloomberg.
      There is also a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that shows Winterkorn knew about this. A year before the scandal broke, Winterkorn was alleged to get a memo talking about the investigation into the EA128 2.0L TDI engine. He claims that he never saw that memo. There is also the allegation that Winterkorn sat in a meeting discussing the investigation.
      Before leaving the hearing, Winterkorn apologized once again.
      “What happened makes people furious -- me too. I’m deeply upset that we disappointed millions of our customers,” said Winterkorn.
      Source: Bloomberg

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Ever since Martin Winterkorn resigned from his post as Volkswagen Group CEO due to diesel emission scandal sixteen months ago, he has been out of the spotlight. However, Winterkorn made his first public appearance today at a parliamentary committee in Berlin investigating the emission irregularities of automobiles. At the hearing, Winterkorn maintained his innocence, saying he had no part in the cheating, nor knew anything about it.
      “It’s incomprehensible why I wasn’t informed early and clearly. I would have prevented any type of deception or misleading of authorities,” said Winterkorn.
      Winterkorn declined to answer questions dealing with when he was informed about the scandal, saying prosecutors are still investigating.
      The defense that Winterkorn is using (not having any knowledge about the scandal until the news broke) is very much at odds with his reputation of being a detail-obsessed executive.
      “It remains difficult to believe that such a dedicated engineer like Winterkorn wasn’t aware what was going on. And if he wasn’t, he neglected his duties as supervisor,” said Stefan Bratzel, an auto industry researcher at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany to Bloomberg.
      There is also a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that shows Winterkorn knew about this. A year before the scandal broke, Winterkorn was alleged to get a memo talking about the investigation into the EA128 2.0L TDI engine. He claims that he never saw that memo. There is also the allegation that Winterkorn sat in a meeting discussing the investigation.
      Before leaving the hearing, Winterkorn apologized once again.
      “What happened makes people furious -- me too. I’m deeply upset that we disappointed millions of our customers,” said Winterkorn.
      Source: Bloomberg
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen has been teasing us for a number of years with Microbus concepts that never seem to go anywhere. The latest one is the I.D. Buzz that debuted earlier this month at the Detroit Auto Show. But an insider says this concept will go into production.
      Automotive News Europe spoke to a source at Volkswagen who said, "I know what you're going to ask and the answer is 2022. Diess wants it."
      The second sentence in that quote is important. Diess refers to Herbert Diess, the brand chief for Volkswagen. According ANE, Diess is a big fan of the I.D. Buzz concept in part as the original bus "is a feel-good throwback to the days when VW stood for flower power, not toxic pollutants."
      According to other sources, the production variant of the I.D Buzz will be very close to the concept, minus the retractable steering wheel.
      Whether it actually goes into production or not remains to be seen.
      Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
      Pic Credit: NewspressUSA

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen has been teasing us for a number of years with Microbus concepts that never seem to go anywhere. The latest one is the I.D. Buzz that debuted earlier this month at the Detroit Auto Show. But an insider says this concept will go into production.
      Automotive News Europe spoke to a source at Volkswagen who said, "I know what you're going to ask and the answer is 2022. Diess wants it."
      The second sentence in that quote is important. Diess refers to Herbert Diess, the brand chief for Volkswagen. According ANE, Diess is a big fan of the I.D. Buzz concept in part as the original bus "is a feel-good throwback to the days when VW stood for flower power, not toxic pollutants."
      According to other sources, the production variant of the I.D Buzz will be very close to the concept, minus the retractable steering wheel.
      Whether it actually goes into production or not remains to be seen.
      Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
      Pic Credit: NewspressUSA
    • By William Maley
      In 2005, Volkswagen was in dire straights. The company was going through a painful restructure and was looking into various ways to get itself back into shape. One of those ways was a possible deal with Daimler on possibly using their diesel technologies. But Volkswagen canceled the talks later that year and worked on their own diesel engines, which led to the cheating software and the mess it finds itself today.
      Bloomberg has learned from sources about a top-secret plan known as 'Project Tabletop'. The plan, spearheaded by then VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder, involved Volkswagen and Daimler possibly collaborating on projects and a possible deal where Volkswagen would get access to Diamler's BlueTec technologies for cleaning up diesel emissions by using urea injection. However, the talks were called off before an important meeting in August 2005. Sources claim that Volkswagen balked at cost of adding BlueTec to their vehicles -  about 1,000 euros per car. Plus, VW couldn't lower production costs to compensate for.
      Instead, Volkswagen would go on its own and continue working on their TDI engines. This got strong internal support from then chairman Ferdinand Piech. But it also brought a fair amount on controversy to Volkswagen's top management. Some believed that Volkswagen wouldn't be able to meet the stringent U.S. standards for diesel vehicles without the BlueTec technologies.
      Sure enough, in 2006, Volkswagen would begin developing the software cheat that would reduce emissions when it detected specific conditions to know it was being tested. It is unclear if there is a link between the deal falling through and development of the cheat.
      Source: Bloomberg

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)