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First Look: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Turbocharged brand-building.

by on Feb.09, 2011

VW lifts the covers on the sportiest new Jetta, the GLI.

It’s brand-building time at Volkswagen, and the once-dominant German import is convinced that a wave of new products will help it recover its lost glory.

With the launch of its new American assembly plant, and sale of the U.S. version of the bigger Passat just months away, VW turned to the sportier segment of its line-up at the Chicago Auto Show, unveiling the top-line version of its latest Jetta family, the 2012 GLI.

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At a price of $23,495, the new model, as with the rest of the Jetta line, is, “the only truly accessible German-engineered car in its class,” suggested Jonathon Browning, the British industry veteran who took over VW’s U.S. operations last year.

With the GLI designation, Jetta gets a new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, which compares to the 115 hp of the base I4 package, and the 170-hp 2.5-liter Jetta I5.