VW Brings Jetta GLI Performance Concept to SEMA

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague
vw brings jetta gli performance concept to sema

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI has long been the middle ground in performance for people who wanted a Golf GTI but needed sedan legroom. At this year’s SEMA Show, however, VW is giving the car its due with a motorsport-inspired concept car. Given its stated goal of going electric, it's unlikely we'll ever see this car in production, but it would be a great day for enthusiasts if it did.

Though it’s based on a 2022 Jetta, the GLI Performance Concept is brawnier than the standard car in almost every way. It got a RacingLine turbo performance package, a carbon fiber cold air intake, and a beefed-up intercooler. Those upgrades push the turbocharged 2.0-liter EA88 engine’s output to 350 horsepower and 372 pound-feet of torque. The factory six-speed manual and front-wheel drive setup remain in place, but VW fitted a performance clutch to handle the extra power. 

Stopping and turning are just as important as power and acceleration, and Volkswagen says the concept’s suspension is capable of delivering a thrilling track experience while maintaining a comfortable ride on the street. The car got a RacingLine Stage3+ six-piston forged caliper big brake kit that brings 15-inch carbon ceramic discs. Adjustable coilovers help keep the concept stable on the track, and Rotiform provided a set of custom 20-inch wheels for the project. 

[Images: Volkswagen]

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3 of 9 comments
  • Doug Dye Doug Dye on Nov 02, 2022

    I wish VW would return to their days of lower cost German performance. I have owned many Sciroccos, Corrodes, GTis, and GLis in the past. I switched to BMW's when the company focused more on SUVs. Love BMW's, but they cost much more to maintain!

    • FreedMike FreedMike on Nov 02, 2022

      By contemporary standards, VW performance cars are actually quite affordable - the O.G. GTI from the '80s would go for 26 grand today, and it offered a fraction of the current model's performance.

  • Joe Joe on Nov 02, 2022

    Seriously what’s the point? Not gonna build it. Not particularly appealing. Former superstar nameplate, that’s meh and low demand now.

  • Kcflyer Nice looking ride
  • Kcflyer If it was as likely to be reliable as the Lexus LS I would look to pick up a used low mileage unit someday. But I would not trust this to be long term reasonable to own.
  • Analoggrotto If it's not a TESLA, dont bother trying to charge it. Don't even bother with it.
  • ScarecrowRepair How much is the $ub$cription for those facing seats? How much extra to have both face backwards, or to have a button to switch the facing-in seats to face outwards when the kids' arguments get too distracting? Is there an option to be sideways facing each other?
  • Deanst We seemed to have passed peak Hyundai/Kia design appeal. There is nothing clever or appealing to the exterior - the eye is drawn to awkward and inconsistent treatments. The interior - which I’m sure has decent materials - seems to be something that might excite Lee Iacocca’s grandson. In the meantime, I question the sanity of anyone buying a $20,000 H/K vehicle with a 2 litre engine.