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Forbidden Fruit: Updated Volkswagen Jetta GLI unveiled abroad as a booted GTI

Published Aug 24, 2021


HERDON, VIRGINIA - Back in the 1980s Volkswagen sold a sportier version of the Jetta in South Africa. Wearing a CLI badge and featuring other racy touches, it was essentially a booted version of the Golf GTI for those who were seeking something a little more ‘grown up’, but not too grown up.

The Volkswagen Jetta was discontinued in South Africa in early 2019 after the company decided that the volumes no longer justified the development of a right-hand drive version. However, a newer-generation Jetta was launched in other markets, such as the US, which also continued to receive a sportier GLI version. In many ways this is a spiritual successor to the CLI that we once knew.

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The US-market Volkswagen Jetta has just been given a round of updates for the 2022 model year, including new front and rear styling details, fresh colours, redesigned wheels and a more digitised cabin.

Furthermore, the base Volkswagen Jetta receives a new 1.5-litre turbopetrol engine, which uses a variation of the Miller Cycle to enhance economy. Producing 118kW, the 1.5 TSI EA211 engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

ALSO READ: 6 sedans that Volkswagen builds for China, where Jetta is its own brand

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI continues with a version of the familiar EA888 2.0-litre turbopetrol motor, producing 170kW in this guise. This performance model is also fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (for those few Americans who can actually drive ‘stick’) and for those that can't - or simply prefer a DSG - there is the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch tranny.

While the 1.5-litre Jettas are fitted with old fashioned torsion beam rear suspension, the GLI versions ship with a multi-link set-up. The GLI is also fitted with an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, as well as the XDS Cross Differential System and DCC adaptive damping.

To bridge the gap between the GLI and humbler Jettas, Volkswagen USA is also offering a new 1.5T Sport model, which features the aforementioned XDS electronic diff, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, blacked out grille, mirror and window trim, and sports seats.

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The cabin of the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta has been given something of an electronic update, with the digital instrument cluster now shipping as standard, along with an MIB3 infotainment system with Wi-Fi, App-Connect and wireless charging.

Do you wish Volkswagen would bring the Jetta back to South Africa?

IOL Motoring

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