Volkswagen reveals Jetta GLI Performance Concept

First launched in 1984, the Jetta GLI model has affectionately been referred to as a “GTI with a trunk” over its many generations.

Volkswagen of America, Inc. has revealed a Jetta GLI Performance concept at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show® in Las Vegas, Nevada. The performance concept, along with eight other vehicle concepts and models, will be on display in and near Volkswagen’s booth (#10509), located within the exhibition’s North Hall.

First launched in 1984, the Jetta GLI model has affectionately been referred to as a “GTI with a trunk” over its many generations. Having frequently shared numerous exterior design cues and performance hardware with its Golf GTI cousin, the Jetta GLI has been just as much a driver’s car over the near four decades of its existence.

Paying homage to the many years in the model lineup, Volkswagen’s Design Center California borrowed features from the GLI’s rich history, amplifying them in a complete rework of the Jetta GLI Performance concept’s exterior and underpinnings.

“The Jetta GLI concept was an opportunity for our team to draw from our passion for motorsports and create a vision that is even more expressive and exciting than the production vehicle already is,” said Reto Brun, Senior Director Volkswagen Design Center California. “The wide body design gives this GLI concept the stance that every enthusiast dreams of and the graphic treatment underlines its more aggressive nature, while incorporating classic GLI elements.”

Built on a 2022 Jetta GLI Autobahn with six-speed manual, the GLI Performance concept features front and rear fenders that are 0.8 inches wider than stock, all with backside vents. The motorsport-inspired flares are tied together at the profile through larger profile side skirts.  A custom front bumper boasts upsized grille intakes, while the rear bodywork sports updated grille inserts and a muscular lower valance that frames the car’s twin-exit sport muffler. A custom hexagon-themed matte black vinyl wrap transitions to the car’s factory shade of Kings Red Metallic paint.

Building off Volkswagen’s EA88 Gen 3 engine, RacingLine has added its IS38 turbo-based performance package. An R600 Carbon Fiber Cold-Air Intake and Performance Intercooler deliver the necessary flow of cool air, while an oil management kit and oil cooler aid with thermal management of the motor’s oil. Power is delivered to the front wheels via the factory six-speed transmission mated to an upgraded performance clutch package.

To counter the GLI Performance concept’s 350 horsepower and 372 pound-feet of torque—up from the stock 228 hp and 258 lb-ft—RacingLine has bolted on its Stage 3+ six-piston forged caliper big brake kit (BBK) with 15.0-in diameter carbon-ceramic discs. Ensuring the car’s additional forward momentum and braking power stays manageable on track, RacingLine also provided its TrackSport coil-over suspension kit, engineered with the brand’s extensive race experience. TrackSport brings together features more typically found on full-blown racecars, such as a coil-over rear spring/damper, a ‘thick stem’ inverted front damper, lightweight aluminum bodies, 2.4-in linear springs with helpers, and fully-adjustable solid top mounts. In combination, the tuning package delivers a track-worthy suspension that is just as at home on the street.

Lastly, to increase body rigidity, reduce sub-frame deflection and maintain accurate suspension geometry, RacingLine’s suite of underbody braces was added. Putting the GLI Performance concept’s power to the tarmac is a set of Rotiform® Forged “GRZ” Monoblock 20-inch wheels with custom finished AERODISC covers. The wheels, wrapped in summer performance tires, complete the race-inspired design theme while providing necessary traction and grip. To support the project, Rotiform will make the Jetta GLI Performance concept’s AERODISC graphics available for download on To facilitate wheel and tire swaps, the Rotiform GRZ wheels are bolted up with RacingLine’s wheel stud and nut conversion kit.

For driver and passenger to best enjoy the concept’s newfound capabilities, a pair of classic Recaro® Pole Position ABE seats have been installed in the cockpit, and feature integrated headrests with high bolsters finished in a custom ‘Texagon’ themed upholstery.

The Jetta GLI Performance concept, with additional custom builds by Volkswagen of America and various partners, can be viewed at the 2022 SEMA Show, Booth #10509, now through November 4th, 2022.

Press Release
Press Releases are issued by interested parties, usually the manufacturer or press agents acting on their behalf. We reproduce them here to keep readers abreast of the latest news of interest.