In 1984, Volkswagen introduced the first Jetta GLI to the U.S. market, setting the blueprint for all subsequent versions of this beloved sport sedan. The first GLI essentially wrapped a GTI’s running gear in Jetta sheetmetal—same 90-horsepower fuel-injected 1.8-liter engine, close-ratio five-speed transmission, sport suspension with front and rear anti-roll bars, and vented front disc brakes. Externally, the car sported GLI badging, a tail spoiler, and bodyside moldings, while the interior was upgraded with a leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, three additional gauges in the center console, sport seats, and distinctive upholstery and interior trim.

That recipe still holds true today. Compared with a Jetta 1.8T, the GLI features a more powerful 2.0-liter TSI engine, a close-ratio six-speed manual or DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, a sport suspension, bigger wheels and tires, upgraded brakes, more aggressive body styling, and an interior that features sport seats and pedals.

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To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first GLI, Volkswagen will sell the car only as an Edition 30 in two trim levels, starting in early 2014: the Edition 30 and the Edition 30 with Navigation. Compared with the current 2014 Jetta GLI, the GLI Edition 30 is distinguished externally by 18-inch “Laguna” aluminum-alloy wheels, red trim on the front grille, a trunklid-mounted spoiler, and Edition 30 badging. The Edition 30 with Navigation also has red trim inside the Bi-Xenon headlights.

Inside, the Edition 30 benefits from contrasting color V-Tex leatherette seats with red accents; red contrast stitching on the steering wheel, shifter, brake lever, and armrests; carbon-look trim inlays; Edition 30 kickplates; and floormats with red stitching. The car will be available in four colors: Deep Black Metallic, Pure White, Tornado Red, and Reflex Silver Metallic.

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The Edition 30 is extremely well equipped, with standard features such as front foglights; LED taillights; leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, brake handle, and shift knob; Premium VIII touchscreen radio with SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Bluetooth connectivity. The Edition 30 with Navigation adds: Keyless access with push-button start; the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; a rearview camera; LED daytime running lights; and Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System. Pricing will be announced closer to market launch.