2008 Volkswagen GLI Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen GLI Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen GLI Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automated Manual
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Volkswagen GLI

  • Offering the taut, interactive drive that seems to be the domain of German marques, the 2008 Volkswagen GLI deserves strong consideration from driving enthusiasts wanting a sport sedan in the $25,000 to $30,000 price range.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful turbo engine, comfortable ride, tight handling, rich interior materials, plenty of standard safety features, solid build quality.

  • Cons

    Exterior styling not exciting enough for this type of car, option packages can quickly drive up the price.

  • What's New for 2008

    For 2008, this compact sport sedan drops the "Jetta" part of its name to become known simply as the Volkswagen GLI. Other changes include the deletion of automatic climate control from the options list and the swapping out of last year's "Fahrenheit" package for this year's "Autobahn."

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Outstanding performance and build quality

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 04/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

This car is an absolute blast to drive! I drive with a very heavy foot and still average 23-25 MPG (premium 93 gasoline). I'm 6'5" and weigh 220 lbs, yet I have plenty of leg room. The adjustable seat height is probably one of my favorite features. My wife enjoys the feel of an SUV so she raises the seat all the way up when she drives and says it gives her a feeling of being higher up than a typical sedan. The steering is extremely responsive even under heavy acceleration. If you are unfamiliar with turbo's, there is a bit of lag noticeable when letting off the brake from a complete stop. It's a normal function of any turbo and just takes some getting used to. Love the car! Highly recommend!

Very happy customer

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 04/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I bought my car about 2 months ago - I couldn't be happier. The DSG is a blast. I also like the sound of the engine when in Sport mode... I was comparing the Subaru WRX and the GLI for quite a while. The only advantage of the WRX is the AWD. Everything else is better in the GLI. The biggest difference is the interior - the WRX looks like a Toys”R”us car inside. Plus GLI has wider rubber and much nicer rims, cleaner and nicer exterior look and I also got a decent deal on it. I like driving it hard on curvy roads - it has lots of grip and I am having a blast. Is the first car I've had that after two months I still can't wait to get behind the wheel.

Awesome ride

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 04/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

For six months I shopped, researched, test drove many cars. I was leaning towards an Audi A4 with an S Package but decided to check out the vdubs too. It's a true German car with all it's high quality materials and engineering. The frame is solid steel and when you open and close the door you can feel its a well built car and not a Japanese thin framed vehicle. The GLI comes with a turbo engine, a DSG dual clutch transmission that can shift faster than any human. The sport's suspension and the Pirelli tires make the GLI handle nicely. I ended up purchasing the GLI two months ago and have no regrets. It handles like the Audi A4 but $10,000 cheaper and better on the pocket book.

Outstanding sport sedan

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 04/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

Having owned a myriad of sport sedans, many costing tens of thousands more than this vehicle, I am more than impressed with this car. Excellent performance, including acceleration, braking and handling and the best steering of any car I have ever driven make this VW truly exceptional. It could easily sell for $10K more than the sticker and it would still be worth it.


Full 2008 Volkswagen GLI Review

What's New for 2008

For 2008, this compact sport sedan drops the "Jetta" part of its name to become known simply as the Volkswagen GLI. Other changes include the deletion of automatic climate control from the options list and the swapping out of last year's "Fahrenheit" package for this year's "Autobahn."


The 2008 Volkswagen GLI bridges the gap between econosport compact sedans (typically of Japanese persuasion) and pricier luxury sport sedans (typically of German descent). Those drawn to classy European styling, a nicely tailored cabin, athletic road manners and spirited performance will find a lot to love in this Vee-Dub.

Based on the Jetta sedan (and indeed, called the Jetta GLI until this year), the GLI should satisfy just about anyone who craves the taut, energetic feel of a German-pedigreed sedan but needs a price that's not going to cause missed student loan payments. The GLI's turbocharged inline-4 provides plenty of punch, while a firm suspension and communicative steering bring joy to those who appreciate a strong connection to the road.

Apart from its athletic dynamics, the Volkswagen GLI also boasts impressive build quality and more passenger and luggage room than most of its rivals. The cabin's high-quality materials and tasteful design impart a luxury-brand ambience, and VW offers the latest features like a navigation system and a dedicated iPod interface.

With pricing (depending on options) in the $25,000 to $30K range, the 2008 Volkswagen GLI is a very good pick for a fun-to-drive small sport sedan. But you might want to take a look at a few other models before signing on the dotted line. We also like the Acura TSX for its refinement and stronger reputation for long-term reliability, though it lacks the Vee-Dub's power. Other highly rated choices include the turbocharged Volvo S40 T5, the rev-happy Honda Civic Si sedan and the all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX and Legacy GT models.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Volkswagen GLI is a compact sedan that's available with a choice of a six-speed manual or automanual transmission. Standard features include bi-xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, metallic interior trim, aggressively bolstered front seats, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated side mirrors, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary input jack.

Options include an "Autobahn" package (leather seating, heated front seats with power lumbar supports, a sunroof and an upgraded audio system), an exterior Sport styling kit, 18-inch alloy wheels and a navigation system (which allows the option of iPod connectivity in lieu of the CD changer). Individual options include a sunroof, an iPod adapter and a variety of wheels and rear spoilers.

Powertrains and Performance

The Volkswagen GLI is front-wheel drive and comes solely with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. One may choose either a six-speed manual or VW's slick six-speed DSG ("Direct Shift Gearbox") sequential-shift transmission. The latter allows either ultra-quick manual-style shifting or fully automatic operation. The GLI can sprint to 60 mph in about 8 seconds flat. EPA fuel economy estimates for 2008 stand at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway for a DSG-equipped GLI.


Antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are all standard. Side airbags for rear passengers are optional.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 Volkswagen GLI received four out of five stars for protection of front-seat occupants in head-on collisions and five stars for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the GLI earned the top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

A sense of premium quality is immediately evident upon entering the cabin. Top-grade materials and exacting fit and finish, along with clean European style, give the GLI an upscale flair. Performance-oriented touches include a thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel and metallic-trimmed pedals. Firm side bolsters on the front seats hold both driver and passenger snug around corners -- perhaps a bit too snug for those of wide frame. Otherwise, seating for four adults is comfortable all around, and the rear seat offers a folding armrest and a split/fold feature. Trunk capacity measures an impressive 16 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The GLI's well-sorted suspension strikes a near-perfect balance between a comfortable ride and sporty handling. Though not as edgy as the previous-generation Jetta GLI, the current VW GLI has a rock-solid feel with a surprisingly quiet ride. Factor in the precise, communicative steering, eager engine and brilliant DSG transmission, and the 2008 Volkswagen GLI makes an ideal, well-rounded choice for enthusiasts on a budget.


Talk About The 2008 GLI

2008 Volkswagen GLI Discussions See all Started By

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