Grace, pace, space. These were the 3 words used by Jaguar when asked about their cars in the early 1960's, and I feel that a car like my 2012 GLI carries on this legacy of effortless style and performance. Being the VW nut that I am, I decided to forego buying a new car, and went the CPO route with my first car, and boy was it the right choice!
(Full Disclosure: VW made this car in 2012 and sold it to a fine Gent who sold it. I then saw the car on Autotrader, and lusted after it, but thought it sold before I was able to go and buy it from the dealer. To my surprise, when I got back home from Europe, I found that the car was still on the lot, and I went for it! Also, I love the car, this is slightly biased)
When asked to describe my car, I tend to just tell people it's a Golf GTI sedan, and for the most part, it is, except for a few crutial differeces. Unlike the GTI, the GLI tends to not evoke images of 20 year olds with snap backs and tank tops, but images of a relatively reserved middle age businesswoman. After all, it is only a jetta, right??? Well, we'll just have to see about that!
There is no denying that this is one attractive car. Being based on the design on the MK6 Jetta, it takes the already nice design and pushes it further with different facia, side skirts, and meaner rear valance at the bottom. The lip spoiler also adds to the sporty profile of the car. Another note about the car are the stunning 18" alloys added by the Autobahn package.
The car truly is a looker, but these looks aren't anything overly racy. They make the car look mean, but just by looking at it, you can't tell just how good of a driver it is! I did knock off a couple of points though because like any design, it's not perfect, and there are sedans that do look better (even if they are few and far between.)
Like the exterior, the interior is also really nice. There is more than enough legroom both front and back, and the whole layout is simple and easy to understand. The AC controls are really cool, allowing for dual zone climate control. There are no real blind spots to speak of on the car, and visibility is excellent. The car uses the same steering wheel that can be found in the MK6 GTI, and I think I'm not exaggerating when I say that it is THE BEST steering wheel conceived by man. Period. Also, unlike the normal Mk6 Jetta, the GLI has a lot more soft touch materials inside, adding to the appeal of the car.
Like outside, all is not perfect though. The car loses a point for inadequate bolstering. The GTI's front buckets are just SO much better, and I wish they were used in the GLI. Also, the car loses a point for the AC system, because in Auto mode, it sometimes randomly goes to full blast.
This is not an R32, nor is it an APR modified GTI, nor is it a V10 TDI Touareg. This car has the stock 2.0T engine, and that engine allows this car to accelerate quickly. With an official 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds, this car goes faster than it's numbers would indicate. 200hp and 200ft-lbs might not sound like much, but trust me they are more than enough. In the last 3 days of ownership, I've had my fair share of above 100mph runs, and the pace and easy with which the car gets there is astonishing and even a bit frightening! Like I said, it won't beat a hellcat to any speed, but if a lane opens up, and you've got a lead food, you'll quickly find the car to be going 110, 115, 120…
No! not Breaking! I know it's a VW, but it shouldn't break down that much! Oh wait, this is the Braking portion, isn't it? The car has the exact same brake setup as the GTI does, and those are really good brakes. They slow the car down nice and fast. So, why does it score a 6? Well first off, the brakes are not ceramics, they are good old steel discs. Second, the discs are not cross-drilled, so they heat up quickly. Third, I may have cooked the brakes on a tight, twisty downhill road last night, so I'm pretty sure they fade FAST. Lastly, I've driven a modified APR stage2 GSR bug that had a set of brembos on it, and that thing stopped on a dime. This doesn't really, but who cares? It stops well enough!
It's got the sportiness of the GTI, but the comfort of the 2.5 SE jetta. A PERFECT blend IMO. It loses points because there is such a thing as a Mercedes-Benz S-class, and because it's a bit firm, but that's all there because of…
This car REALLY shines in the corners. Like, REALLY REALLY shines. It's just heavy enough to stay planted, yet it's nimble enough to pull through turns at silly speeds. The tires grip like you wouldn't expect, and the FF layout allows for the car to dip in nicely, and pull out with little to no drama. The car's Electronic power steering is also amazing, as it gets REALLY heavy in the corners, allowing you to feel EXACTLY what the car is doing. It can easily take "suggested speed 15mph" corners at 40-45mph, and doesn't even bat an eye! Really, really good handling car, that I believe Is overlooked by performance shoppers.
It loses points for 2 reasons. 1) Not an AWD car, so it's not SUPER planted. 2) I did have one bad case of understeer.
6-speeds, 6 points. Nothing special to write about here. Clutch is light and easy to learn, and the shifter feels nice. It loses points because the gears are kind of vaugue, and I have a tough time with getting the car in to 1st gear sometimes. Other than that, it's a great 'box. Not as fast as a DSG, but who wants to drive a clutchless manual anyway?
I'll put it like this. THIS IS THE BEST EQUIPEED CAR ANYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS OWNED EVER. Music? 8 speakers and a subwoofer totaling to 400watts of Fender made awesome. The 6.5" display? Amazing. Crisp. Fast. Responsive. There's also an in-dash 6CD changer, which I've already filled with assorted Pop music. Also, Dual zone climate control! First time I've had that! My favorite feature is the sunroof. I LOVE THEM but have never had a car with one. well, now I do! Also, the heated seats will save my ass (literally) in the winter! The one thing that is missing from this car is a GPS system, and honestly? I didn't even want one since I've got a nice TomTom unit that has a screen that's just as big as the car's!
The engine has a deep, burble t it when you really get on it, and you can hear the car blow off pressure if you REALLY listen. I tend to either listen to that sweet burble, or drown myself in music from that AMAZING Fender sound system mentioned above!
I bought this car for $21,000 (before tax). Seeing as though a new GLI autobahn is priced about $26K (before tax) these days, I think that's a great deal on a car that essentially has the same warranty as a new car for the next 3 years/ 30,000 miles! It gets a 6 because on day 2 of ownership, it had to go in to the dealer to get a fuel pump sensor module replaced, and that kinda annoyed me. Also, I know VW's aren't THAT reliable, so I'm just waiting for my water pump to fail now. But besides that, I love my car. It's exactly what I wanted. A civilized, comfortable car that if pissed off can buckle down, and kick ass. It is me in car form, if you will. It is a part of me, that I love and care for, and that has an infinite value.