Volkswagen pulled the covers off a hot-rodded GLI for the year’s SEMA show. What started off as a 2022 Jetta GLI Autobahn edition has been turned into a Golf R hunter courtesy of a tweaked two-liter turbocharged engine and numerous chassis and body enhancements. The concept was penned by Volkswagen’s California Design Center.
VW kept the GLI’s stock EA88 turbo four but let tuner RacingLine add its IS38 turbo-upgrade kit to replace the smaller factory IS20 snail. A carbon fiber cold-air Intake and upgraded intercooler is also on board. The combo is reportedly good for 350 horsepower and 372 pound-feet of torque—up from the stock GLI’s rating of 228 hp and 258 lb-ft.
Power is still delivered through just the front wheels via the factory six-speed manual transmission, but an upgraded clutch has been added to the mix. Other enhancements include a six-piston forged caliper big brake kit with 15.0-in diameter carbon-ceramic rotors and a set of RacingLine’s TrackSport coilovers. The car also features RacingLine’s full catalog of underbody braces.
The fenders of the GLI Performance Concept have been widened by nearly an inch and now feature backside vents. The motorsport-inspired flares are paired with wider profile side skirts and custom front bumper with enlarged grille intakes.
The rear bodywork also features updated grille inserts and a new lower valance paired with a twin-exit muffler. The body is wrapped in a hexagon-themed matte black vinyl which transitions to the car’s factory shade of Kings Red Metallic.
The exterior look is completed by 20-inch monoblock Rotiform wheels with custom AERODISC covers wrapped in summer performance tires. Inside, a pair of Recaro Pole Position seats have been installed, that feature a custom ‘Texagon’ upholstery.
Official performance figures were not provided with the concept, but its safe to say that the GLI Performance would blow the doors off any showroom stock GLI or GTI. Its also possible that it could surprise a Golf R or two, assuming the front wheels could put all 350 horsepower to the ground when called upon.
While it seems unlikely that VW would put such a GLI into production, the concept is an interesting showcase of how much power is left untapped in the GLI off the showroom floor.