2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI spy shots

Volkswagen is working on a new generation of its Jetta compact sedan. We’ll see it unveiled next January at the 2018 Detroit auto show, as a 2019 model.

Shortly after the launch will be the arrival of the sporty Jetta GLI, a prototype for which has been spotted. We know this is the GLI due to its dual-tip exhaust, lowered suspension, and Golf GTI-style wheel, tires and brakes.

Volkswagen of America Senior Vice President Product Planning & Strategy Hendrik Muth in October told Autozaurus the new GLI will be arriving no more than a year after the standard Jetta.

Muth also hinted that a manual transmission will be offered on the new GLI, an option that was just dropped on the current GLI. The standard Jetta will also offer a manual option.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The new GLI should be dynamically superior to its predecessor. The main reason is a switch to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform from the aging PQ35 of the current model.

The car will also benefit from the VW Group’s latest 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, potentially offering a higher output than the current model’s 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. One additional change should be a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission in place of the current model’s 6-speed. Of course, we’d recommend going with the manual because we’re not sure how much longer you’ll be able to purchase an affordable sport sedan with a third pedal.

Production for North America will continue to take place at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. It’s the same plant responsible for most Golfs and the latest Tiguan SUV.

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Despite the shift to SUVs among new car shoppers, the Jetta remains one of VW’s most important nameplates in the United States. It’s still the top-selling vehicle for the brand by a significant margin, averaging about 10,000 units per month so far this year.

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