VW tests out new Jetta GLI engine at Bonneville

Modified Jetta to attempt to break class-record 335.503 km/h on Salt Flats

Published: June 22, 2018, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:00 PM

Volkswagen Jetta Bonneville record car - Volkswagen has prepared a specially-tuned Volkswagen Jetta to attempt the Southern California Timing Association’s BGC/G class record at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Volkswagen is taking a straight-ahead approach in testing out the upcoming Jetta GLI — it’s taking a modified version of the new production Jetta to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the annual speed week in the middle of August.

Volkswagen is confident in the flexibility of the new 2.0-litre direct-injected turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and is modifying it to hopefully power the car to a record speed in excess of 335 km/h (the current record for the class in which the Jetta will compete is 335.503 km/h). A version of the EA888 engine in the concept Golf R400 makes 395 hp, quite a stretch from the GTI’s 220 and a 35% improvement from the Golf R’s 292.

Volkswagen is also confident in the new Jetta’s aerodynamics, which yield a coefficient of drag of 0.27.

“We are delighted with the reception for the all-new 2019 Jetta in North America,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen in North America. “With the attempt on the Bonneville speed record with the Jetta, we want to underline the Jetta’s sporty credentials and get customers excited for the more performance-oriented Jetta GLI on the way.”

Built by Bonneville preparation specialist firm THR Manufacturing, the Bonneville car has many changes from the stock Jetta — lowered suspension, the fully-enclosed Salt Flat wheels shod with appropriate tires, and a limited slip differential to aid traction.

Of course, it is also missing all the production interior amenities, in order to lighten weight and make room for all the safety equipment (roll cage, racing seats, racing harnesses, fire suppression system and the pair of parachutes to help slow the car down).

The exterior graphics were done by Volkswagen’s Southern California Design Centre, creating a sense of camaraderie for the company, while adding a flair to traditional Volkswagen cues to make it stand out on the stark Salt Flats landscape.