2022 VW GLI Makes Way Less Power Than New GTI

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - August 24, 2021

With Volkswagen introducing a Golf GTI for the 2022 model year, the automaker is showing the 2022 Jetta GLI some love. Usually, the GTI and GLI share the same engine. That was the case for the previous model year, but it won’t be for 2022. The new model year brings a revised exterior design and updated tech features for the 2022 GLI, but the engine goes unchanged. That means that the GTI and GLI will have a large gap in performance.

VW may call the GLI a “GTI with a trunk,” but that’s not exactly true for 2022. The GLI continues to come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2022 GTI features a similar engine, but it’s rated at 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A 13 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque difference may not seem like a lot, but they’re large figures for compact vehicles like the GLI and GTI. Both the GLI and GTI are available with a six-speed manual and a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The result is that the GTI will offer peppier off-the-line acceleration and better passing ability at higher speeds than the GLI.

While the engines are different, the GLI and GTI have similar suspension setups. Both compacts come with the VAQ electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip differential. The differential works with the XDS Cross Differential System and adaptive suspension to provide agile and stable handling. The GLI continues to use a multi-link rear suspension and a strut-type front suspension. Because of the different body styles, sizes, and weights, we think the GLI and GTI will handle slightly differently, but not by much.

When VW introduced the GTI, it claimed that the hatchback would have ESC, EDS, and XDS+ functions for the limited-slip VAQ differential. While the GLI uses the same differential as the GTI, VW didn’t say anything about these functions in the GLI’s press release. Another thing that’s missing from the GLI’s press release is information on what tires the GLI will be available with. The GTI Autobahn will come with summer performance tires straight from the dealership.

If you find yourself cross-shopping the 2022 GLI and GTI, the hatchback has a slight edge. While the GTI has the edge in power, the GLI seems evenly matched in handling.

For consumers that plan on taking their compact vehicle to the track regularly, the GTI is the better choice. It’s more powerful and is available with performance summer tires. We’re sure some owners will look into modifying the 2022 GLI so that it makes the same amount of power as the GTI. Summer tires are also easy enough to add. But these features make the GTI more attractive to drivers seeking a canyon carver or track car over a sporty, daily driver.

Both the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and Golf GTI are expected to go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2021. Pricing for the GLI hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s consistently been cheaper than the GTI. Last year’s GLI cost $2,350 less than the GTI. We expect the upcoming GLI to continue to the trend of costing less than the GTI.

Even with the price difference, we’d choose the GTI. It has a fully updated design, a more powerful engine, a more versatile cargo area, and a few extra performance touches.

Read More About the 2022 Volkswagen GTI

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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