2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
We’ve been getting a lot of MQB chassis time in lately. That’s Volkswagen’s nearly all-purpose front and all-wheel drive compact underpinning that supports such fun-to-drive models as the Golf R and Audi’s S3, both of which we recently tested. Now, it’s the turn of another MQB model, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, a tidy sedan that has long been one of our most favorite VW’s of all time.
The GLI is, for all intents and purposes, to the Jetta what the GTI is to the Golf hatchback. So not only does it get more power than the standard Jetta, it puts it into play more effectively with VW’s VAQ electronic limited-slip differential. A major part of the GLI’s much improved handling, along with a multi-link rear suspension and sport-tuned dampers.
The GLI may not be a hard core performance car, but it remains an extremely seductive car to drive, while also managing to have a very different sport sedan feel than the GTI hot hatch. The GLI to us is a little more laid back. Yet has lots of potential when you turn thing up a notch. Throw in plenty of interior space, some great seats, and a smooth ride; and that’s pretty much everything we look for in a sporty daily driver.
Another part of what makes the fun factor high is the standard 6-speed manual. Throws are a little long, but the shifter is very positive and feels good overall. A 7-speed DSG is also available if you must.
The spacious and well put together four-door interior would have made for a nice Audi not that long ago. Revisions here for 2022 include upgraded materials, but there’s also a new sport steering wheel with a clutter of touch-sensitive controls.
GLIs include lots of gloss black trim, along with red accents throughout the cabin. VW’s digital cockpit is now standard on all Jettas. The GLI upgrades to a 10-inch fully configurable version.
Outside, all ’22 Jettas don a new grille. The rear bumper is revised with larger exhaust outlets…dual on the GLI… plus fresh wheel designs. GLI also adds exterior gloss black trim and red accents, along with projector beam headlights, a honeycomb-finished rear diffuser, and 18-inch rims.
There is not quite as much power in the GLI as in the current GTI, with VW’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 outputting 228-horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. But there’s no lack of grunt at all, and that’s plenty enough to make it quicker than most in the compact sedan class.
The GLI’s trick differential can send all of the engine power to one front wheel if need be. Sport mode puts the adaptive dampers at their firmest setting, which kept body roll to a minimum when the roads get curvey.
For our complete road test of the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #4142 that begins airing on PBS June 24, 2022. For a listing of the PBS public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About the Show” tab at the top. You can also watch weekly episodes of MotorWeek on our cable partner MAVTV with new episodes airing each Saturday at 7:30 PM. Check their entire schedule at MAVTV.com. MotorWeek can also be streamed in its entirety on PBS.org/MotorWeek, as well as on PBS Living, a part of Amazon Prime Video. Roadtest videos are also be available at motorweek.org and on youtube.com/motorweek.
The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is just the latest really-good-time that the MQB chassis has visited upon us. Indeed, we’re sure glad Volkswagen still offers the affordable and fun Jetta GLI sedan, and even more happy to drive it every chance we get.