It's no secret that Volkswagen designed the new 2011 Jetta with the U.S. in mind, but that doesn't mean the car is restricted to a single market. Volkswagen unveiled the European-spec Jetta earlier today and there are a couple key differences between it and its American cousin.
Volkswagen insists there are subtle cosmetic differences between the Euro Jetta and the U.S. car, but the most notable variance between the two models is hidden from view. To cut costs, the standard U.S. car carries a torsion-beam rear suspension design, while the European car uses a more sophisticated four-link setup (available in the U.S.-spec Jetta GLI) that is both wider and recalibrated compared to its predecessor. The rear suspension is similar in design to Volkwagen's Golf. Electromechanical steering is also included in the Euro car.
In the U.S., the 2011 Jetta is available with a normally aspirated 2.0-liter I-4, a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4, and a 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder mill. An impressive array, perhaps, but Europeans will be able to pick from six different engine offerings when ordering a new Jetta. Of those six, only two -- the 2.0T and the 2.0 TDI diesel -- are shared with the North American car. Buyers can also spring for a 122-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4, or VW's award-winning 1.4-liter Twincharged (i.e. super- and turbocharged) 1.4-liter I-4, which throws down 160 horsepower.
Two other engine choices are marketed under VW's BlueMotion sub-brand, which is tailored to high-mileage, low-emission drivelines. Jetta BlueMotion offerings include a turbocharged 1.2-liter I-4 and a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder. Both engines only produce 105 horsepower, but return astounding fuel economy. The turbo-diesel 1.6 liter is rated at 4.2 liters/100 km (56 mpg) on the Euro cycle, while the 1.2-liter is rated at 5.3 liters/100 km (44 mpg). All engines can be ordered with had with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, save for the 1.2-liter I-4, which is mated only with the manual.
European models also receive a soft-touch upper dash pad, a four-gauge cluster -- some of which will eventually migrate to the U.S.-spec GLI. Even so, will these extra touches and a revised engine portfolio help a Jetta designed for American tastes succeed in Europe? Time will tell, but send us your predictions by means of the comments section below.