2025 VW Jetta GLI: Same Six-Speed With a Fresh Face

Volkswagen's sports sedan is one of the last manual performance cars left around $30,000 since the GTI went auto-only.
2025 VW Jetta GLI
VW/James Lipman

Another year, another car with a manual transmission goes extinct. Two of this year’s casualties are the VW Golf GTI and Golf R, which will be sold with automatics only starting this year. But strangely, their less popular sedan sibling—the 2025 VW Jetta GLI—will keep it, making it one of the cheapest manual performance cars in the United States.

The 2025 Jetta GLI benefits from a midlife update across the entire trim range, introducing updated front and rear styling, a light bar in the grille, and redesigned 18-inch black wheels (optional). All trims now get standard automatic climate control and an eight-inch infotainment screen, though let’s not dwell on them; they’re not what you’re here for. Your carrot is the stick, and the stick is sticking around for 2025.

As before, the six-speed manual remains an option on the 2025 GLI, alongside a seven-speed DSG automatic. Both link a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, which control that power with a limited-slip differential. The front suspension remains strut-based, while the rear goes multilink, with all four corners utilizing VW‘s adaptive damping. The GLI also gets bigger brakes and a sports exhaust.

Inside, the GLI gets perforated Vienna leather in red, black, or grey, with red contrast stitching. The Autobahn trim also features a heated steering wheel that still has those damned touch controls—guess we’ll have to wait for the next-gen model for buttons to retake center stage.

The 2025 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is expected to reach U.S. dealers in Q3. Pricing info isn’t yet available, but VW boasts that base-model Jettas will actually go down in price. Here’s hoping the same is true for the GLI, which only gets more appealing as its rivals bow out before it.

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