2008 Volkswagen GLI Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen GLI Sedan

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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."

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (4 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Amazing car

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I hate driving jetta's but this is NOT a jetta. It drives better than all my families cars with includes audi's and lexus'. Everything about this car is amazing. I was just rear ended at high speeds and I am 100% fine. This car is so much fun to drive and I have YET to have a problem. I have over 50,000 miles on it already. I get 28-38 MPG mixed highway city.

My first german car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I just purchased the VW GLI 08 and drove it everyday for 3 weeks now. This is my first German car coming from Japanese cars. So far, I love this car with its 200HP turbo engine; nice interior, 10 speaker premium sound system, sirius radio, and cool 18" wheels. This is also my first to drive a sports sedan with stiffer suspension where you really feel the road imperfections. I guess they will have to do a better job fixing the roads.

Vw does it again

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I had a 00 VW GTI VR6, and this GLI in my opinion captures the essence of that car, and builds upon what it did right. The exterior of the "jetta" is not my favorite, but this GLI has enough touches to make it sharp. This is a practical sedan that screams to be driven. I owned an 04 BMW 330i with lim. ed. perform package, this is essentially what this VW offers, and a far greater value. To have power to go, but still get great gas mileage is huge in today's economy. The dsg transmission is phenomenal. I'm still breaking mine in, but the speed of shifts is like driving an arcade video game car! My wife was not happy about the purchase, until she saw it and drove it for the first time!

Great bang for the buck

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I could not be more satisfied with my 2008 GLI, it has met or exceeded all my expectations of it thus far. I had a small issue with some interior bits (all cosmetic), but that was quickly fixed by the dealership, so it was never a problem. I've put about 4,000 miles on the beast in 2.5 months, and the only way I can describe the experience is that I look forward to, and find excuses for driving. This car is a great bargain with minimal equipment added, but even fully loaded (just under 30k or so) it's a steal. If you are looking at similar-sized sport sedans, then make sure you take a test-drive in the GLI, you WILL be converted.

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

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs