2012 Volkswagen GLI

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

2012 volkswagen gli Reviews and News

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Front Left Side View
When the current-generation Jetta was launched, its big advance over the previous model was its much lower price. Unfortunately, that lower price was achieved with some severe cost cutting both in the car's mechanicals -- a cheaper rear suspension and a smaller, less-powerful engine -- and its interior. The arrival for 2012 of the top-spec GLI edition of the Jetta, goes a long way toward remedying those issues.
Traditionally, the GLI was the enthusiast's express, basically a GTI with a trunk. That remains the case, with the Jetta GLI sharing much of its mechanicals with the highly regarded GTI. Unlike other Jettas, which have reverted to a beam axle, the GLI has an independent rear suspension, like the GTI. Likely as a result, the ride quality is not bad, despite rolling on (sharp-looking) 18-inch wheels wrapped with low-profile, 40-series all-season tires. Although the GLI has a lower ride height than other Jettas, it's really not as tossable as the smaller GTI, although it does ride more comfortably. The electrically assisted power steering also didn't feel quite as sharp as we remember from our last stint in a GTI. At low speeds it's way too light on center although it firms up at higher speeds; still, it's somewhat disappointing that VW feels to need for so much low-speed assist in a sports sedan like this.
Happily, however, the wheel never squirms in your hands, as torque steer is never an issue. The chassis is very effective in putting the power down (with an assist from the extremely well-calibrated and minimally intrusive traction control) and that goes a long way toward making the 2.0-liter turbo four's 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque seem like exactly enough power for this car, despite the fact that some competitors offer more. Acceleration is plenty quick and fuel economy is pretty good: 24/32 mpg, according to the EPA. I was able to just exceed the latter figure, with an indicated 33 mpg on a two-hour highway trip.
In my test car, the 2.0T was paired with the six-speed DSG automatic. The DSG is great for whipping off lightning-fast shifts, but it is awfully eager to get into top gear. That's fine for gas mileage, of course, but it makes the GLI seem less lively than it might. The solution is to use the shift paddles, which are available anytime -- not need to move the shift lever out of Drive. Still, the manual transmission strikes us as the enthusiast's choice here (it also saves $1100).
The other area where the new Jetta is notably cheaper than the old model is the interior, and that's still true in the cabin of the GLI, albeit to a lesser degree. Hard plastic features prominently on the center console and the door panels. The GLI-specific sports seats, however, are comfortably firm and have additional lateral bolsters; and the flat-bottom steering wheel, borrowed from the GTI, is nicely shaped. The driving position is very good, with great sight lines and a prominent dead pedal. And although many have criticized VW for making its sedans bigger, you won't likely hear any complaints from those relegated to the back seat of the Jetta, where legroom is plentiful and the car's boxy profile makes for generous headroom and easy access. The GLI Autobahn comes with V-Tex leatherette upholstery -- real leather is not available. All GLI trim levels gets VW's touch-screen radio, which doesn't have any real advantage over a standard radio, and its iPod connector is somewhat inconveniently located inside the glove box. One final note about the interior: My test car suffered from a persistent rattle from somewhere in the rear of the cabin and an occasional squeak in the dashboard, which cast some doubt as to this VW's quality image.
The GLI starts at $24,265 (with destination), which is about $7000 more than the cheapest, price-leader Jetta. But this is a whole lot more car, and it goes a long way toward redeeming the latest version of VW's most popular sedan.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn automatic

Base price (with destination): $27,415
Price as tested: $27,415
Standard Equipment:
2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine
6-speed DSG automatic transmission w/shift paddles
Speed-sensitive power steering
4-wheel disc brakes
Sport suspension w/multilink rear
Red-painted brake calipers
Darkened taillights
Power windows w/one-touch up/down for all windows
Power door locks w/remote
Body-color power mirrors
Sports seats w/6-way manual driver's seat
Adjustable front center armrest w/storage box
Split-folding rear seat w/center armrest and pass-through
Alloy pedals
Premium touch-screen AM/FM/Sirius audio system w/CD player, iPod cable, and Bluetooth
Tilt and telescoping steering column
HID headlamps
Cruise control
Carpeted floor mats
Sport bumpers and side skirts
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Power sunroof
18-inch wheels
V-Tex leatherette
Options on this vehicle:
None
Key options not on vehicle:
None
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
24/ 32 / 26 mpg
Engine:
2.0L turbo I-4
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
Drive:
Front-wheel
Transmission:
6-speed DSG
Curb weight: 3157 lb
Wheels/tires:
18-inch aluminum alloy
225/40ZR18 Dunlop SP Sport tires
Competitors:
Acura TSX
Honda Civic Si
Lexus IS250
2012 Volkswagen Gli Exterior Right
With car enthusiasts less-than-enthused about the base model Volkswagen Jetta, it’s no secret that the GLI will be an important model to win over enthusiasts. Fortunately VW has dropped a new commercial of the new GLI, and it’s taking a slightly different approach to win some hearts.
2013 Volkswagen Polo R Wrc Rear Three Quarters View1
Volkswagen hasn’t given up on the idea of a Polo R, it seems, as Autocar reports that the company has now committed to building a production model. Although VW said last year that it had no plans to build a Polo R, since such a car would compete with the company’s forthcoming Audi S1, the German manufacturer’s decision to enter the Polo into the World Rally Championship (WRC) has spurred it on to build a hotter version of its smallest hatch.

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Used 2012 Volkswagen GLI Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$23,745

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2012 Volkswagen GLI
2012 Volkswagen GLI
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
22 MPG City | 33 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
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2012 Volkswagen GLI
2012 Volkswagen GLI
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
$23,745
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
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25
2012 Volkswagen GLI
2012 Volkswagen GLI
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
200hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2012 Volkswagen GLI Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
22 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
33 MPG
Horsepower:
200 hp @ 5100rpm
Torque:
207 ft lb of torque @ 1700rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
36,000 miles / 32 months
Powertrain
60,000 miles / 56 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Roadside
36,000 miles / 32 months
Maintenance
36,000 miles / 48 months
NHTSA Rating Overall
4
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
4
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
4
NHTSA Rating Front Side
4
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rollover
4
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R

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