The year 2019 marks the 35th anniversary of Volkswagen Jetta GLI – the performance-oriented model of the best-selling sedan. Over the last three decades, each generation of the Jetta GLI provided Akron families with an affordable, reliable and stylish sedan option. On the occasion of the anniversary of the model, as well as the unveiling of the 2019 Jetta GLI at the Chicago Auto Show, let's briefly explore the legendary car's history.

The Original 1984 Jetta GLI

The first Jetta GLI arrived in the US in 1984. The top-of-the-line Jetta featured a four-door style, seating for five passengers and a spacious trunk, which suited the needs of American families better than competing models.

The original Jetta GLI featured cutting-edge performance for the time, including a fuel-injected, 90-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine with new cylinder heads, lighter pistons and tighter compression. The model also came with a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission and an upgraded sports suspension.

The first GLI became a classic, though it was only made for one model year. As the Jetta progressed throughout the 80s and 90s, the GLI underwent several more upgrades improving both performance and appearance. The first 16-valve, 2.0-liter engine arrived in the 1990 GLI model.

21st Century Jetta GLI

After a redesign of the model in 2002, the 2006 version of the Jetta, the Mk5 Jetta GLI, featured the 2.0-liter TSI turbo engine paired with an independent rear suspension, along with 18-inch alloy wheels. Where the original Jetta GLI only offered a few options, the new model amped up the tech and comfort features, prioritizing the importance of such equipment to sedan owners. The model came with state-of-the-art options such as touchscreen navigation, keyless entry and heated seating. The fifth-generation of the Jetta GLI, based on the Jetta Mk6 platform, delivered 210 horsepower and optional tech, such as lane departure warning and blind spot detection.

The benefits of the Jetta GLI have been obvious since its beginnings in 1984 - and they are only becoming more advanced as we welcome the next generation of the performance-oriented sedan in the new Jetta inventory at Kempthorn Volkswagen.

Categories: New Inventory