Don't worry, this may be a temporary change.
Building a car with both a manual and automatic transmission can be expensive, especially when the take rate for manuals is getting smaller and smaller. That's why certain sporty cars like the Honda Civic Si and Ford Focus/Fiesta ST are only available with a stick. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI has always competed in this category, but has been overshadowed by competing cars and its more modern brother, the GTI. VW can't afford to keep offering the GLI with two transmission options, so all 2018 GLI models will only come with the DSG.
Speaking to Carsdirect, Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies said that the take rate for the GLI's manual transmission was only 30 percent. This is around half as much as the manual take rate for the Golf GTI, which sits at around 60 percent. This will be the first time since the GLI's introduction that a manual option will not be available. It's sad to hear that yet another car is losing its manual transmission option, but this doesn't seem like too big of a loss. The GLI still sits on the Mk6 platform, with some minor Mk7 improvements such as the steering wheel and navigation. We think that the GLI is in desperate need of a refresh along with the standard Jetta.
There will be a new Jetta coming soon, and there will likely be a much improved GLI model as well. 2018 GLI models will now start at $30,395, which is $1,680 more than a 2017 model. Considering that the DSG transmission added $1,100 to the price of the 2017 GLI, this price increase is not too bad. It is becoming very difficult to recommend the GLI anymore. The GTI is far superior and starts at just $26,415. There is also increasing competition from cars like the Hyundai Elantra Sport, Honda Civic Si, and Nissan Sentra Nismo. The GLI losing its manual may not be great news, but hopefully VW replaces this model soon, with something much better.