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10 November 2010

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show held in Las Vegas each year always has something interesting to see. Whether it is a pristine restoration of a 60′s muscle car or the latest in tacky fast and furious gear, anyone that likes cars will find something intriguing. SEMA revolves mostly around the American and Asian car manufacturers and European car enthusiasts most often have to look in the wheel and tire hall or H&R Springs booth to find some relief. H&R never fails to please with Ferrari F430′s, Porsche GT3′s and lots more, usually outfitted with their latest and greatest suspension equipment (and no they didn’t pay me to say that). Truthfully though, Roland and the gang at H&R are probably some of the most diehard, dedicated people you’ll find with a true passion for cars and, in particular a knack for suspension tuning.

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So when we strolled through their booth we weren’t surprised to find that H&R already had a Jetta 6 on display. What did surprise us though was how much better the car looked with a bit of modding. H&R had fitted their silver SEL Jetta 6 with a set of prototype H&R Sport Springs (production units will be available very soon) that lowered the car 1.3 inches. They also fitted OZ Superturismo LM 19″ wheels and a set of H&R TRAK spacers to push the wheels out to the edges of the fenders a bit. H&R also filled the dead space from the 19″ wheels with a set of Brembo 14.4 inch brake rotors and 4-piston calipers. This combo of wheels, brakes, spacers and suspension really transformed the plain-jane Jetta 6 into something special. To give it a bit more, H&R also raided the Volkswagen Accessories catalog and put the VW accessories body kit and rear trunk lid spoiler on the car. While we have mixed feelings about the body kit (some pieces just don’t look as tightly integrated as we’ve come to expect from VW), the combination with the big OZ wheels, lowered suspension and more really looked great. In fact the car was getting quite a bit of attention while we were in the booth – which says something when it was parked next to a Ferrari F430.

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The Jetta 6 has certainly been the source of debate in our forums. Overall it is a very solid platform and you can see the potential in modifying it. While I’m not personally a fan of some of the cost-cutting in the new Jetta (particularly the interior bits) I can see the aftermarket embracing this car a little more than the Jetta 5 as there is lots of room to make changes. I had quite a few conversations with a number of VW aftermarket tuners and they are all upbeat on the potential in the Jetta 6. The new base-price opens the car up to a broader market and the bare-bones aspect of the car appeals to the guys who relish a blank canvas to work from.

H&R’s Jetta 6 shows what can be done with very little at this early stage. With the Jetta GLI coming next spring and an onslaught of other tuners parts on the horizon we look forward to seeing more modified versions of the Jetta 6. Let us know what you think…



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