VW Thinks the New GLI Will Give Better Bang for Buck than GTI

While Volkswagen has yet to reveal exactly how much the Jetta GLI will cost when it comes out later this year, the pricing will be “impressive,” according to product developer Adam Reinhardt. 

Reinhardt made his comments to Motor Trend at the Chicago Auto Show, where he spoke at length about the new, more powerful than ever sedan.

Unfortunately, we can’t reveal pricing just yet,” Reinhardt told Motor Trend, though he did have some encouraging news.

“When we do our own internal value analysis to see which features are valued at which price-points for our customers, we actually come up with calculations that show that the GLI offers more equipment for comparable, if not even a little bit better money, than GTI.”

While that remains a fairly wishy washy statement–“better money” along with the whole comment being couched in equipment levels make it anything but a clear declaration–it’s nice to hear that the GLI should still be a performance bargain.

But the team wasn’t just focused on the “bargain” part of “performance bargain.” 

“The number one thing with this car was to make sure that it was on the same performance plane as the GTI,” said Reinhardt. “So previous generation, the Mk VI GLI was a good car, but it had the misfortune of the GTI coming out in 2015 as a Mk VII on the MQB chassis that did have more power and it had a more rigid chassis and it had a little bit better handling.”

Now that the GLI is on the MQB chassis, though, Volkswagen thinks it should be able to keep up with the GTI. And the performance numbers so far (230 hp, Golf R brakes, VAQ diff) back that up. Reinhardt also revealed that the GLI is a little heavier than the current Golf, though that isn’t really much of a surprise given the extra sheet metal. And since the Jetta’s coefficient of drag is so low, it might pick up some speed in the straights.

Unfortunately, when the Mk8 Golf is revealed in Europe later this year (it’ll be a little longer before it’s sold in America), it will undoubtedly improve and surpass the GLI again. Some sources report that the power on the Mk8 GTI will be up to nearly 290 hp, though VW has yet to even hint at the coming GTI’s power levels, officially.

While it would be nice for the GLI to honestly be a GTI with a trunk, we’d say that the current GTI’s price and performance make it a pretty great deal, so we have no problem with another car taking up its mantle while the GTI moves on to higher power and–presumably–slightly higher prices.