The 2013 Volkswagen GLI is the sportiest member of the Jetta sedan family, and although it's enjoyable within that context, buyers looking for true performance will be better served by rivals, including VW's own GTI.
Eventually we'll stop comparing the VW GLI to its hatchback cousin, the GTI. But we can't help it. Not that long ago, the GLI sedan rose from the same platform as the GTI hatchback as a more practical car, but no less sporting. That era ended two years ago with the arrival of the redesigned Jetta, which grew in size while dropping in price to appeal to a wider audience. Although the 2013 Volkswagen GLI remains the sportier, performance-oriented Jetta, it isn't as entertaining to drive as its predecessor was, nor does it have the same premium feel on the inside.
Compared to the base Jetta, the GLI uses a more sophisticated rear suspension design and an upgraded steering system. And inside, it features a sporty, thick-rimmed steering wheel and higher-quality dash material. Plus, it still shares its turbocharged 200-horsepower engine with the GTI. This engine is as energetic and fuel-efficient as ever, and Volkswagen continues to offer it with either a conventional six-speed manual or the DSG six-speed automated manual transmission. A honeycomb grille, red brake calipers, darkened taillights
For 2013, the GLI carries over largely unchanged from its return last year. Opting for the Autobahn model with navigation also nets you a rearview camera and bi-xenon headlights, while the DSG transmission-equipped models get launch control for speedier getaways from stoplights. And perhaps Volkswagen has heard some grumbling with elements of its Jetta redesign, as an adjustable armrest -- a minor, useful feature that disappeared from the new Jetta -- makes a return appearance in the GLI.
The 2013 Volkswagen GLI is certainly more appealing than a plain vanilla Jetta. It's also a fairly rare style of