Volkswagen releases the Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary, and it just makes us want an Elantra N. Nether are beauty contest winners here. But at least with the Elantra N, there’s some excitement. Excitement that comes from genuine effort… combined with a little bit of unchartered territory. There is no doubt that Hyundai is trying to prove themselves as an enthusiast brand. There is also no doubt in my mind at least, that Hyundai BELIEVES they’ve made a better car.

When I see the Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary…

I just see another ugly shapeless sedan with no style. And half-assed red accenting. From a car company who could do better. I see a car that looks like a knock-off Hyundai… which ironically used to look like a knocked-off Volkswagen. When I see the Jetta GLI 40th… I see a European car company resting on their laurels. And phoning-in an anniversary model for dedicated fans who deserve better. As someone who owned a MK1 GTI for 17 years, seeing this 40th Anniversary Edition of the Jetta GLI just reminds me how generic the Jetta has actually become.

The Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary will be limited…

To just under 2,000 units. On the bright side, the price is right at just under $30,000. That is… if it actually ever ends up selling for that price. Call me cynical, but I don’t trust any car manufacturers’ advertised price anymore. And I find it immediately suspect that the pricing of the GLI 40th Anniversary is ~$2,000 UNDER the current pricing of a regular GLI as listed on Volkswagen’s own website??

But back to features, the GLI 40th will be available with a 6-speed manual, or a dual clutch. Those are appreciated wins. The horsepower is the same as the regular non-anniversary GLI at 228. Which, is a good bit less than the Elantra N’s & GTI’s 275hp. But looking down the road post-purschase – Volkswagens tend to get a lot of power gains with tunes in the aftermarket. So the Jetta GLI does offer an accessible/affordable entry point into a car that will be rewarding to modify… which is really what it’s all about. Hopefully the Volkswagen aftermarket culture will know what to do with this car… and bring out the best of what’s under the Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary’s boring design. 

Jetta GLI 40th anniversary seats

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