Volkswagen reveals 350bhp Jetta GLI saloon concept | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October

Volkswagen reveals 350bhp Jetta GLI saloon concept

Four-door ‘GTI with a trunk’ gets a hardware upgrade and MASSIVE arches

Published: 02 Nov 2022

Reports of the sports saloon’s death have, sadly, not been greatly exaggerated, which means few will take notice of this outlier. Volkswagen has revealed the Jetta GLI Performance concept, and it’s rather appealing.

Because it's not another crossover or SUV, and it celebrates the Golf GTI sibling's long history. Indeed VW’s Californian design centre wanted to take the performance Jetta and transform it into something worthy of a show where the wider your arch, the higher your score.

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To that end, this one takes a 2022 GLI ‘Autobahn’ model – complete with a six-speed manual for full museum piece – and adds nearly an inch of additional arch front and back. There are vents on the arches too, tied front and back by wider, larger side skirts.

There’s a reprofiled front that allows more air to be ingested by that modified 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, while a more "muscular" rear finishes off the bodywork adjustments. The Familiar EA88 Gen 3 unit features a new cold air intake and high performance intercooler, along with an oil management kit and oil cooler aid.

Power rises quite dramatically from the standard GLI’s 228bhp to a healthy 350bhp and 372lb ft of torque, directed at the front wheels via that six-speeder and beefier clutch pack. There are bigger six-piston brakes, massive carbon ceramic discs, a set of coilovers, some underbody bracing and fetching Rotiform 20in Monoblock wheels with custom aero covers. A fetching set of Recaros finish off the interior appointments.

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Serious, no? “The Jetta GLI concept was an opportunity for our team to draw from our passion for motorsports and create a vision that is even more expressive and exciting than the production vehicle already is,” said Reto Brun, VW Cali’s senior design boss.

It’s certainly more expressive, not that you’d notice.

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