Hopefully a performance boost is in the cards.
Volkswagen is readying a mid-cycle refresh for its compact Jetta sedan, including the sporty GLI variant. Aside from the awesome Blue Lagoon Concept revealed earlier this year, the seventh-generation Jetta hasn't received any major updates since it debuted in the 2019 model year. VW will reportedly give the base Jetta a power upgrade, courtesy of the larger 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Taos. This engine produces 158 horsepower compared to the current 1.4-liter's 147 hp.
The base Jetta may not be the only one to receive a power bump. Our spy photographers recently spotted the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI undergoing testing, leading us to believe it could get a boost as well. The current GLI uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sourced from the seventh-generation Golf GTI, but this facelifted model could receive the newer engine from the eighth-generation GTI.
If our prediction is correct, the GLI will jump from 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to 241 hp and 273 lb-ft. It's unclear if VW could easily drop the Mk8 GTI's engine into the older Mk7 Jetta platform, and an even bigger mystery if the GLI will receive other GTI upgrades like the revised suspension, aluminum subframe, and Vehicle Dynamics Manager with the more advanced limited-slip differential.
Even if the GLI doesn't receive any performance upgrades, it will certainly gain some visual changes. The barely camouflaged test mule features color-coded plastic to disguise the exterior updates. These changes are subtle but noticeable to the trained eye.
We spotted newly designed front and rear diffusers with a honeycomb pattern, which look more in-line with the Golf GTI. There are some clever plastic covers on the bumper corners, leading us to believe there will be changes there too. VW completely removed the prototype's exhaust tips, possibly hinting at a new design. We expect the 2022 Jetta to debut later this year, then go on sale sometime in 2022.