Volkswagen is working on a new generation of its Jetta compact sedan. We’ll see it unveiled next January at the 2018 Detroit auto show, as a 2019 model.
Shortly after the launch will be the arrival of the sporty Jetta GLI, a prototype for which has been spotted. We know this is the GLI due to its dual-tip exhaust, lowered suspension, and Golf GTI-style wheel, tires and brakes.
Volkswagen of America Senior Vice President Product Planning & Strategy Hendrik Muth in October told Motor Authority the new GLI will be arriving no more than a year after the standard Jetta.
Muth also hinted that a manual transmission will be offered on the new GLI, an option that was just dropped on the current GLI. The standard Jetta will also offer a manual option.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
The new GLI should be dynamically superior to its predecessor. The main reason is a switch to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform from the aging PQ35 of the current model.
The car will also benefit from the VW Group’s latest 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, potentially offering a higher output than the current model’s 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. One additional change should be a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission in place of the current model’s 6-speed. Of course, we’d recommend going with the manual because we’re not sure how much longer you’ll be able to purchase an affordable sport sedan with a third pedal.
Production for North America will continue to take place at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. It's the same plant responsible for most Golfs and the latest Tiguan SUV.
Despite the shift to SUVs among new car shoppers, the Jetta remains one of VW’s most important nameplates in the United States. It’s still the top-selling vehicle for the brand by a significant margin, averaging about 10,000 units per month so far this year.