2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI First Drive Review: A Healthy Mix Of Passion And Composure

2019 Volkswagen GLI First Drive Review
2019 Volkswagen GLI First Drive Review

We got behind the wheel of the all-new Volkswagen GLI on one of the best roads in America to do it.

Volkswagen took us to the mountainous area between North Carolina and Tennessee to test drive the 2019 Volkswagen GLI, on the infamous Tail Of The Dragon road that spans over 18 kilometres of pristine pavement delivering 318 curves to anybody who wants to taunt it.

A perfect place to test a sports coupe, fast motorbike or, in this case, a brand new compact sedan that wants to be different in a world of compact trucks.

Building sedans that people will choose over SUVs in 2019 is a tall order. Volkswagen’s success in North America is palpable, thanks to the Atlas and the Tiguan SUVs who made a killing in 2018. Still, the German car manufacturer clings to the four-door dream, launching the Arteon, Jetta GLI and Passat this year.

The Volkswagen Jetta has always been a staple in the people-and-cargo-conscious driving enthusiast’s eye, delivering both space, driving dynamics and a hint of performance to go with it. The 2019 Jetta GLI is bigger and badder on paper, and we couldn’t wait to see if it could perform to our expectations.

What’s new with the 2019 GLI

2019 Volkswagen GLI First Drive Review
2019 Volkswagen GLI First Drive Review

All in all, the GLI is physically different from its “base” counterpart thanks to red accents (that were barely distinguishable on our red-coloured tester), more aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers and, more importantly, a sport suspension that makes it sit 15mm lower. Other differences are mostly mechanical and equipment-related.

The new GLI has a 30 mm longer wheelbase and an is 81 mm longer than the outgoing model.