The 2019 Volkswagen GLI Reviews are out

The Volkswagen GLI is back! Volkswagen’s performance sedan follows the redesign of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta initiated in 2018 and adds a bit more spice and performance to the German sedan’s lineup. We covered the new GLI in another text, now let’s take a look at what experts have to say about it.

The theme here is take everything we love about the GTI and shove it into the Jetta. The two cars weigh about the same and share a laundry list of parts, including a brilliant turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It’s good for 228 horsepower, about 18 more than the outgoing GLI, and 258 lb-ft of torque. The old engine made do with 207. That means the car is properly quick. We don’t have official numbers just yet, but our guess is the GLI will stick close to the GTI’s 6.0-second 0-60 time. As usual, the torque is the star, giving the car more muscle across a broader swath of the rev range. We found ourselves leaving the car in third, and letting the low-end grunt pull us out of everything but the tightest corners. 

And, because the GLI doesn’t look like a slammed Euro hatch, that makes it a proper sleeper. Look, we will always be hatchback people, but there are plenty of buyers out there who prefer a sedan, and if you want GTI fury with four doors and a trunk, the GLI is your car – Road & Track 


Did the 2019 GLI meet our mountain-sized expectations? It did everything well. The meaty, flat-bottomed steering wheel almost feels heavy in your hands, but once underway steering is direct and instantly responsive in tackling the 318 successive turns on the Tail. Our day with the car also included a fabulous route around an unpronounceable lake that was arguably more fun to drive and had the kind of rough pavement that can make or break even a dynamic chassis. The car was stable—verge-of-boring stable at times, even on crazy off-camber turns. Brakes were excellent without being grabby; they proved to be smooth enough that you didn't really notice them, which is a good thing.

There was ample opportunity, but no squeals or chirps from the Hankook summer tires on 18-inch alloy wheels—impressive given the rain and pea-soup fog we encountered. The cabin is quiet. A bit of wind noise penetrated, but there was no road noise to speak of – Motor Trend 


The Jetta GLI is focused, fast and fun.

It’s also intuitive, and by that I mean the new GLI is a car I felt connected to and familiar with after just a few minutes, even though I’d never been in this latest version before. That means it’s a car that is easy to drive hard (or not). The controls are logically arranged and easy to decipher. The seats fit perfectly with enough bolster to hold me in place but not so tight I feel a trip to a dietitian is needed. (A trip to a dietitian is needed but that has nothing to do with the GLI’s seats.)

The 228 hp feels about perfect. I thought VW’s turbo-four was plenty powerful back when it had 200 hp. It was big news when it cracked that number. This engine feels even better without overwhelming the chassis. It’s one of the sweetest fours out there – Auto Week. 

Contact us today at Fifth Avenue Volkswagen to learn more about the new Volkswagen GLI.