This 350-HP VW Jetta GLI With Rotiform Wheels Is a Stellar Throwback Sports Sedan

Volkswagen’s collection at SEMA includes this sinister Jetta GLI with custom body work and a suite of performance parts.

byNico DeMattia| PUBLISHED Nov 1, 2022 10:54 AM
This 350-HP VW Jetta GLI With Rotiform Wheels Is a Stellar Throwback Sports Sedan

Volkswagen is headed to the 2022 SEMA auto show with the Jetta GLI Performance concept to show the GTI's oft-forgotten sibling some love. Despite having the same powertrain and similar performance, the Jetta GLI never seems to get the same attention as the iconic GTI. This one, though, seems to have hit the gym and it's ready to flex its newfound muscles in Las Vegas.

The VW Jetta GLI Performance concept is a collaboration between Volkswagen's Design Center in California and RacingLine Performance, in the U.K. The former did all of the design work on the car, including new a new front bumper, wider front and rear fenders, new side skirts, new grille inserts up front, and a black wrap that blends into the Kings Red Metallic paint. Rotiform supplied the killer 20-inch aerodisc wheels, which also feature the same color scheme as the car, making the wrap-paint combo look like one continuous design.

RacingLine took the baton from there and upgraded most of the mechanical bits under the skin. The car started out life as a standard VW Jetta GLI Autobahn, with a six-speed manual. Its bite-sized 2.0-liter turbo-four made 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from the factory. RacingLine then bumped power up to 350 horsepower and 372 pound-feet, with its IS38 performance package, R600 carbon fiber cold air intake, performance intercooler, and its oil management and cooling kit.

It ain't just for show, either. The Jetta GLI Performance concept should have some moves thanks to a complete suspension overhaul. RacingLine gave the GLI its TrackSport coilover suspension kit, which has "thick-stem" inverted front dampers, fully adjustable top mounts, and lightweight aluminum shock bodies. But a sports car is only as good as its brakes, so the GLI has RacingLine's State 3+ six-piston big brake kit, with 15-inch front carbon ceramic discs.

Inside, VW swapped out the typical GLI seats for Recaro Pole Position ABE seats, with custom "Texagon" pattern inserts, and gave it a new shift knob. The rest of the interior is pretty much stock, though.

The VW Jetta GLI isn't the most exciting sports sedan on the market and it's constantly overshadowed by its hatchback sibling. However, this Jetta GLI Performance concept proves that the car can be cool if done properly. And the best part about this concept is, aside from maybe the funky wrap and custom body kit, most of it is realistic for the average owner. The GLI Performance concept will appear Nov. 1-4 at SEMA in Las Vegas.

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