2009 Volkswagen GLI

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21 CITY / 30 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • New optional navigation system
  • All-season tires replace summer tires
  • Cold-weather package offered with all interiors
  • Transmission launch control offered with DSG transmission later in the year
The Volkswagen Jetta was first introduced in 1979 as a variant of the popular Volkswagen Golf. Over the years, the compact Jetta has been offered as a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan and a 5-door station wagon. In 2002, Volkswagen introduced the Jetta \"GLI\" model, an upscale sedan model with a V-6 engine and a long list of standard equipment. Sportier than the standard Jetta derivative, the GLI offered a taut European ride and handling designed to mimic that of a sport sedan, the automaker claimed. Recent GLI models dropped the V-6 powerplant in favor of a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is as powerful, but much more efficient. The current GLI model is built on a fifth-generation Jetta platform that made its debut in 2005 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The GLI received only minor changes for the 2009 model year.

The 2009 Volkswagen GLI features a 3-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Volkswagen also offers a 12-year, unlimited mileage corrosion warranty on all new vehicles. Volkswagen's carefree maintenance program is standard on all GLI models. The benefits of the program include no-charge scheduled maintenance during the first three years or 36,000 miles of ownership.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Volkswagen GLI is a unique variant in the Jetta lineup that that automaker distinguishes as a separate model. All share the identical sedan body style, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive powertrain. There are two GLI models in 2009: GLI and GLI Autobahn.

All GLI models are appointed with full power accessories and a long list of standard features. Unique in this price range are the standard Xenon headlamps and premium audio package with 6-disc CD-changer and 10 speakers. The interior is appointed with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather shift knob, and \"Interlago\" cloth pattern sport seats. The flagship GLI Autobahn model features standard leather seating upholstery, upgraded audio, lumbar support on the front seats, and a power glass sunroof. To differentiate it from the standard Jetta lineup, the exterior of all GLI models features chrome dual exhaust tips, red brake calipers, and a unique honeycomb grille with special badging.

All 2009 Volkswagen GLI models share the same direct-injected, 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplant. The engine is rated at 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent through a traditional 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic. According to Volkswagen, the GLI will sprint to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds with the DSG transmission. Its top speed is electronically limited to 127 mph. Burning premium fuel (manufacturer recommended), the 2009 Volkswagen GLI earns EPA fuel-economy figures of 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway.

All GLI models feature independent MacPherson strut front suspension and 4-link rear suspension. An electro-hydraulic steering system supplies assistance based on vehicle speed. Brakes are discs on all four corners, with standard anti-lock (ABS) control. The wheels on all models are 17-inch cast aluminum.

All 2009 Volkswagen GLI models feature driver and passenger front air bag supplemental restraint systems and driver and front passenger side thorax air bag supplemental restraint systems. Side curtain air bag protection and front safety belt pre-tensioners are also standard on all models. Rear passenger side air bags and pre-tensioning belts are optional. All 2009 GLI models are equipped with standard ESP (stability control), ASR (traction control), and ABS (anti-lock brakes).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the mechanically identical 2009 Volkswagen Jetta received 4-star frontal crash test results for both driver and front passenger, as well as 5-star (the agency's highest rating) side-impact scores for both front- and rear-seat occupants. The Jetta receives 4 stars for rollover resistance. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has also tested the 2005-2009 Jetta. They gave the models \"Good\" ratings (the Institute's highest) for frontal offset and side-impact tests and also named it a \"Top Safety Pick.\"

Volkswagen's optional transmission in the GLI is the 6-speed dual-clutch DSG. Unlike most automatic transmissions, the \"DSG\" direct shift gearbox contains two wet plate-type clutches-much like a conventional manual transmission. The DSG utilizes these clutches near instantaneously in sequence to allow gearshifts to be made without power interruptions; Volkswagen claims that acceleration is faster than most drivers can operate a manual transmission. While it is computer-controlled, the driver still has ultimate control over the system. Shifting can be called for manually at the gear lever (or steering-wheel-mounted paddles), or automatically in comfort or sport settings.


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