Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen

Volkswagen Jetta GLI Hits Midlife, Turns 40!

To celebrate, VW built a limited-run of a special, North American only trim appropriately named: 2024 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. 1984 of them will roll off the line.

Volkswagen introduced the first GLI for the 1984 model year. That was 40 years ago. Oof, that stings a touch. Happily, the GLI largely aged well. Sure, it’s bigger. But who in their 40s isn’t? And it’s still quick on its feet, peppy, energetic, and enjoyable to drive. Why not celebrate with a limited-edition, special-edition? And why not be super literal and name it the 2024 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition? Why not indeed.

Available with either the six-speed manual, and seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmissions, all 40th editions use the same EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, belting out 228 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque at their respective peaks. You also get larger brakes, adaptive dampers, a trick electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and sport exhaust for a bit of panache.

Need more performance and rear wheel drive? Read: Ford Mustang GT Review

Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen
Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen

But specific cosmetics make up much of the 40th’s trim. You get black, 10-spoke 18-inch wheels. To compliment them, you also see a black grille, sideview mirror covers, door handles, and—why not—spoiler. To contrast the darkness, Volkswagen offers the 40th in three colors: Pure Gray, Pure White, and Rising Blue.

Inside, VW adorned the interior with 40th anniversary cloth seats, each with a unique “molecular pattern” designed in. The two cupholders include the GLI logo in one and the number/year/limited-edition run 1984 in the other. You’ll also see “GLI 40” on the seat tags and door sills and a steering wheel the simply says “40” at the bottom.

Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen
Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen

Expected to arrive at dealerships later this summer, the 40th costs $29,235 (including $1150 destination chage) for the manual and an additional $800 or $30,035 for the DSQ equipped sedan.

For folks who grew up with the GLI, the nostalgia alone will make the 40th seem a bargain. For the rest of you, just know that the Jetta GLI, much like the GTI hatchback, is an absolute blast to drive, regardless of its—or your—age.

For more on the GLI 40th Anniversary, here’s what Car and Driver had to say.

Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen
Volkswagen jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. Image courtesy of Volkswagen

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