2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Track Test on Edmunds.com
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2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Track Tested

Can the Jetta GLI Live Up to the Golf GTI?


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Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Sedans will always outsell hatchbacks, at least in the U.S. So as great as the GTI may be in the eyes of enthusiasts, Volkswagen knows that it needs a sedan counterpart. The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is that car, and it gets a few upgrades over the standard models to boost its performance potential.

Chief among them is the installation of Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It delivers a total of 200 horses at 5,100 rpm and a hearty 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,700 rpm. A new version of the engine with an additional 10 hp will arrive soon as well.

In addition to more power, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI gets a lowered, retuned suspension and an electronic differential lock, and the GLI is a solid package for its roughly $24,000 starting price.

How does it fare at the track? We put it through our test regimen to find out.

Vehicle:
Odometer: 2,219
Date: 6/4/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $26,990 as tested

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged four-cylinder, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,984/121
Redline (rpm): 6,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 5,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 207 @ 1,700
Brake Type (front): 12.3-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.7-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 225/40R18 (92H) M+S
Tire Size (rear): 225/40R18 (92H) M+S
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: SP Sport 01 A/S
Tire Type: Asymmetrical all-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,217

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.8 (3.0 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.7 (5.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.8 (7.2 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.5 (6.9 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.0 (10.5 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.0 @ 94.8 (15.4 @ 94.2 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 33
60-0 (ft): 128

Handling
Slalom (mph): 63.3 (63.5 w/ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.85 (0.84 w/ ESC on)

RPM @ 70: 2,200

 

Comments:

Acceleration: Traction control is barely noticeable and allows a modest amount of wheelspin. Long-throw shifter with easily located gates. Clutch uptake is vague and it's pretty easy to stall the car. Switching TC off reveals how highly inflated the tires are (39 psi as per the doorpost). Wheelspin is possible, but easily managed, and get it right and there's about a half-second to gain. Zero engine braking at the end of the quarter-mile, feels like it would coast forever in any gear at any rpm.

Braking: First stop was shortest and just average for this class of car, and the distances grew quickly with successive stops. Good directionality, yet the pedal feels oddly soft all the time.

Handling:

Slalom: Stability control remains fully active while traction control may be disabled. The ESC is effective and intervenes quickly and goes away just as quickly, yet I believe the car is better than the system will allow me to exploit. Steering feels rubbery and the suspension rolls over with the slightest aggressive turn-in, yet there's enough grip in the tires to make a decent showing. Ultimately, the car begins to go straight despite the steering input. Without any ability to counter this tendency (without provoking ESC) that's all she's got.

Skid pad: Same story here with the tires that give up on steering the car and ESC begins by cutting throttle. Steering load is appropriate, but not all that informative.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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