[dropcap]V[/dropcap]olkswagen introduced the first Jetta GLI to the U.S. market in 1984, setting the blueprint for all subsequent versions of the popular sport sedan.
The first GLI essentially wrapped a GTI’s running gear in Jetta sheet metal — it had the same 90-hp fuel-injected 1.8-liter engine, close-ratio five-speed transmission, sport suspension with front and rear antiroll bars and vented front disc brakes.
Externally, the car sported GLI badging, a rear spoiler and bodyside moldings, while the interior was upgraded with a leather wrapped four-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, three additional gauges in the center console, sport seats and distinctive upholstery and interior trim.
That recipe for the GLI continues today. Compared with a 2014 Jetta 1.8T, the GLI has a more powerful 2.0-liter TSI engine, a close-ratio six-speed manual or DSG dual clutch automatic transmission, a sport suspension, bigger wheels and tires, upgraded brakes, more aggressive body styling and an interior with sport seats and pedals.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first GLI, Volkswagen is selling the car only as an Edition 30 in two trim levels. The cars — the Edition 30 and the Edition 30 with Navigation — went on sale earlier this year.
Compared with the current 2014 Jetta GLI, the 2015 Jetta GLI Edition 30 is distinguished externally by 18-inch “Laguna” aluminum- alloy wheels, red trim on the front grille, a trunk lid-mounted spoiler and Edition 30 badging. The Edition 30 with Navigation also has red trim inside the Bi- Xenon headlights.
Inside, the Edition 30 benefits from contrasting color V-Tex leatherette seats with red accents; red contrast stitching on the steering wheel, shifter, brake lever and armrests; carbon-look trim inlays; Edition 30 kick plates, and floor mats with red stitching. The car is available in four colors: Deep Black Metallic, Pure White, Tornado Red and Reflex Silver Metallic.
Volkswagen has equipped the Edition 30 very well, with standard features such as front fog lights, LED taillights, leather wrapped sport steering wheel, brake handle and shift knob; Premium VIII touchscreen radio with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Edition 30 with Navigation adds Keyless access with push-button start; the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; a rear view camera; LED daytime running lights, and Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System.
Better hurry if you want one of these future collector items. The MSRP is $24,535 with a six-speed manual gearbox (23/33 mpg) and $25,635 with the six-speed automated manual (24/32 mpg).
[author image=”http://www.samaonline.org/Ron.jpg” ]Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.[/author]