TO THE POINTWhat’s New? The performance-oriented 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI gets a powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a choice between two excellent transmissions, beefed-up suspension bits, 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, and several important interior tweaks over the standard Jetta 2.5. Selling Points: Excellent drivetrain and sport-tuned suspension, and attractive, well laid-out interior, a roomier back seat and perfectly sculpted race car-style steering wheel. Deal Breakers: The driving position may not suit everyone, and the ride may be too firm for some. Our Advice: If you’re looking for an affordable sports sedan, the 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI deserves your strong consideration.
Nuts and BoltsWith 50 more horsepower, an available sequential manual transmission, and optional 18-inch alloy wheels, the 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has the goods to back up its sports sedan mission.
At the heart of the new 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a slightly larger version of the automaker’s familiar 1.8T engine. This new 2.0-liter turbocharged motor puts out 200 horsepower at the top end of its rev range and a healthy 207 lb.-ft. of torque across a broad range of engine speeds between 1,800 and 4,700 rpm.
Transferring all that power to the front wheels are two first-rate transmissions. A six-speed manual gearbox comes standard, with the carmaker’s Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automatic transmission – which gives the driver the option of exceptionally quick manual gear changes via steering wheel-mounted paddles – offered as an option.
Suspension upgrades include larger diameter sway bars and stiffer spring rates. To handle all this added performance potential, the GLI is fitted with larger disc brakes at all four corners. The standard 17-inch alloy wheels are shod with high-performance summer tires, while all-season tires are offered as a no-cost option. Sharp-looking 18-inch alloy rims, seen in these photos, will run you an additional $750.
Steering is an electro-mechanical affair with speed-sensitive power assist that provides a relatively light effort in low-speed parking lot maneuvers and a weightier feel in spirited driving.