Volkswagen has a number of enthusiast concept vehicles planned for 2021. The first is a Jetta GLI that revives the spirit of the rare Mk4 Blue Lagoon GLI.
Since 1984, Volkswagen has been offering a sportier version of the traditional Jetta, called the Jetta GLI. The company took the same approach to it as it took to the Golf GTI but added the benefits of a sedan. In 2002 VW released the GTI 337, a limited special edition model – just 1,500 were produced. It was outfitted with 18-inch BBS RC wheels, RECARO seats, and a Votex body kit, the car served as a design jumping off point for the next-generation GLI.
That next-gen model, with GLI spec, would arrive in 2004. The Mk4 Jetta GLI brought sporty driving to the U.S. market with a body kit, wheels, and seats that were similar to the 2002 model. It was released with a Blue Lagoon paint job that, for reasons not made totally clear, was soon replaced by a medium dark shade of blue called Jazz Blue.
“The Jetta GLI has been an enthusiast favorite throughout its 37-year history,” said Sean Maynard, Enthusiast and Motorsport Marketing Specialist. “Paying tribute to the Mk4 with this build concept celebrates the passion that goes into these vehicles.”
VW is honoring the rare model by modifying a 2021 Jetta GLI Autobahn, with a manual transmission, natch, into the fan favorite for the annual Enthusiast Fleet. Andres Valbuena, former Volkswagen product launch manager lead the team and executed the modifications in just over a month.
The car started its life as a 2021 Jetta GLI coated in Deep Black Pearl paint. Its new Blue Lagoon exterior color is courtesy of a vinyl wrap, which was color matched using a fuel filler door off a 2004 GLI. After looking through the inventory of numerous suppliers, Vlabuena found the perfect blue – ORAFOL Midnight Blue Metallic. The wrap has been installed on the entire car, including interior door jambs and side body pieces.
Air Design installed the car’s exterior side skirts and rear trunk spoiler and Fifteen52 was tasked with installing a Critical Aero Design (CAD) front lower spoiler. AlphaParts found the BBS CH-R 20-inch alloy wheels the car needed to be complete and wrapped with Continental ExtremeContact Sport 235/35Z R20XL 90Y tires, and upgraded the car’s original suspension to now include an H&R Springs Street Performance Coil Over suspension.
Inside the vehicle, RECARO Ergomed ES leather front seats, and a Black Forest Industries weighted golf ball shift knob.
“The color is incredible,” said Valbuena. “The Recaro’s, wheels, and styling changes are amazing, but when you see it outside in the sun that color is something else.”
You can catch the one-of-a-kind model, along with the rest of the 2021 Volkswagen Enthusiast Fleet, at enthusiast events around the country this year.