2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Will Be DSG-Only in Its Last Model Year

Like the 2-door Golf GTI, the manual gearbox in the Jetta GLI is going the way of the dodo bird: extinct. Only a 6-speed DSG is available for the 2018 model year.
2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Will Be DSG-Only, Is the This Generation's Last Model 1 photo
Photo: Volkswagen
The GLI has had a manual since its first introduction to U.S. customers, so this is actually a big deal. While speaking with CarsDirect, Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies justified the decision, saying that only 30% of total sales come with a manual, compared to 50% for the Golf GTI.

We think there's something odd about this decision, as the Honda Civic Si and Civic Type R are both manual-only. But perhaps offering a good automatic gearbox is the key to the GLI's success.

There's another problem, though. Dealers have already received MSRP information for the 2018 model year, confirming the change. The 2018 Jetta GLI starts from $30,395, which is a $1,680 increase over the 2017 car. You can get a GTI hatchback for $26,415.

And why wouldn't you? While the GLI's 2.0-liter turbo makes 210-hp and 207 pound-feet (280 Newton-meters) of torque, the GTI's unit punches out 220 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque. It's also lighter by about 100 lbs.

Weirdly, the Jetta base model does still come with a 6-speed stick for the 1.4-liter turbo engine. So some Volkswagen fans are stubbornly shifting their own gears.

An all-new generation Jetta model is just around the corner. This compact sedan is going to be based on the MQB platform, just like almost every other Volkswagen, which should increase body rigidity and reduce weight.

A new GLI has yet to be confirmed, but the GTI's sedan equivalent looks like it still fits in the Volkswagen lineup, especially as the Civic Si has been received so well. But anything over $30,000 and you're walking straight into small premium car territory. We still remember how you could get the early models for about $24,000 about four years ago.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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