On the inside, the Jetta GLI is roomy and comfortably seats three adults in the back seat. There are sport seats and pedals, and there’s also an array of attractive features, including Bluetooth, a touchscreen and an iPod interface.
Volkswagen 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 sheetmetal — same 90-hp fuel-injected 1.8- liter engine, close-ratio five-speed transmission, sport suspension with front and rear anti-roll bars, and vented front disc brakes.
Externally, the car sported GLI badging, a tail spoiler, and bodyside moldings, while the interior was upgraded with a leatherwrapped four-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, three additional gauges in the center console, sport seats and distinctive upholstery and interior trim.
Flash forward to the 30th anniversary of the first GLI and VW is selling the car 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 GLI Edition 30 is distinguished on the outside by 18-inch “Laguna” aluminumalloy wheels, red trim on the front grille, a trunklid-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 kickplates; and floormats 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 foglights, LED taillights, leatherwrapped sport steering wheel, brake handle and shift knob; Premium VIII touchscreen radio with SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and the aforementioned Bluetooth connectivity.
The Edition 30 with Navigation adds Keyless access with push-button start; the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; a rearview 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).