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Volkswagen Built a Wide-Body Jetta for SEMA

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A photo of the Volkswagen GLI Performance concept which is debuting at SEMA.

Photo: Volkswagen

Volkswagen is going buckwild with the Jetta at this year’s SEMA show. The company is unveiling a new concept – the Jetta GLI Performance – that is meant to take VW’s performance compact sedan to the next level while also paying homage to GLIs of years gone by.

The widebody GLI Performance concept started life as a 2022 Jetta GLI with a six-speed manual, but it’s so much more now. The fenders at all four corners have been widened by 0.8 inches with backside vents on the front and rear. They’re paired up with larger side skirts, a custom front bumper and grille, and a custom hexagon-themed matte black vinyl wrap that transitions to the GLI’s factory Kings Red Metallic paint color. All in all, it looks pretty killer. She’s low and she’s W I D E.

A photo of the Volkswagen GLI Performance concept which is debuting at SEMA.

Photo: Volkswagen

The GLI Performance concept isn’t just about looks, though. Plenty has been done under the hood to earn it the “Performance” name. Volkswagen tells us they’ve added a RacingLine turbo performance package, an R600 carbon fiber cold-air intake and performance intercooler, as well as an upgraded oil management kit and oil cooler. Power still is routed to the front wheels only through a six-speed stick shift with an upgraded performance clutch.

On the top of power, those modifications lent themselves to a big bump in both horsepower and torque. Volkswagen says the GLI Performance concept pumps out 350 horsepower and 372 lb-ft of torque. That’s up big time from the 225 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque the standard GLI produces.

A photo of the Volkswagen GLI Performance concept which is debuting at SEMA.

Photo: Volkswagen

All of that power means Volkswagen also had to upgrade the brakes for the GLI Performance. The company added RacingLine’s six-piston forged caliper big brake kit with 15-inch carbon-ceramic discs.

Enveloping those big brakes are a set of 20-inch Rotiform Forged GRZ Monoblock wheels with custom covers. Hell yeah, turbofans!

A photo of the Volkswagen GLI Performance concept which is debuting at SEMA.

Photo: Volkswagen

The sedan rides on RacingLine’s TrackSport coil-over suspension system as well as fully-adjustable solid top mounts. I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and say this’ll be some very stiff suspension. I mean, the GLI Performance is meant for some track duty, after all.

A photo of the Volkswagen GLI Performance concept which is debuting at SEMA.

Photo: Volkswagen

Not too much has changed inside, but the driver and passenger of the GLI Performance will be treated to Recaro Pole Position ABE seats finished in a custom “Texagon” theme upholstery.

You’ll be able to see the GLI Performance concept at SEMA, and that’s probably the only place you’ll be able to, which is too bad. The world needs more turbofan wheels.

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