Announced as a new model for 1980 the Volkswagen Jetta has captivated the car buying public for 28 years. The Jetta, named by Volkswagen after the Jet Stream, is the sedan version of Volkswagen's innovative compact the Golf. The Jetta, developed for the North American market, is an upscale model with nicer interior trim, a trunk, and a slightly higher price than the Golf. Since its debut as a new model, the Jetta has evolved five times, each generation growing in size, power, and prestige. The Jetta is available in two, four, and five door (the Jetta wagon) variations.
The first-generation Jetta, called the A1 and produced from 1980 through 1984, stormed onto the North American market in 1980. It was available as a two-door coupe and four-door sedan. This first Jetta styled by ItalDesign was a marvelously boxy. A standard four-cylinder engine producing 78 horsepower powered the A1 Jetta. The Jetta's power plant was updated to a higher torque producing 1.7-liter four-cylinder in 1981. A diesel version of the engine was offered. Volkswagen also produced a high performance GLI Jetta with a 1.8-liter engine in 1984.
The second generation, and longest running generation of the car, was produced from 1985 through 1992. The A2 was offered as a coupe or a sedan. The A2 Jetta saw a number of exterior, interior, engine, and safety upgrades. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing originally 100 horsepower and later 105 horsepower powered the base models of the A2. The 1990 Jetta GLI was muscled up with a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16 valve four-cylinder engine that produced 134 horsepower and firmly established the Jetta GLI as a serious performance contender.
The A3 Jetta debuted for the North American market in 1993. This sexy boxy design was done by Volkswagen in-house and was only offered as a sedan. The A3 Jetta was produced through 1998. This generation of the Jetta produced more trim variations, 13, then any other generation of the car. The A3 Jetta had three power plants offered. The base was 2.0-liter inline four cylinder producing 115 horsepower. The Jetta diesel, TDI, was a 1.9-liter diesel engine rated at 90 horsepower. And the top of the line power plant was the GLX's (replacing the A2's GLI high performance model) VR6 engine which was a SOHC, six-cylinder engine producing 172 horsepower.
The fourth evolution of the VW Jetta, the A4, was produced between 1998 and 2005. It was offered as a sedan and wagon. This Jetta shares its styling with the rest of the Volkswagen marquee and serves as an outstanding example of the trademark. The A4 was offered in a variety of trim variations and buyers had the choice of three different power plants. The first was 2.0-liter, 8 valve, inline four cylinder engine-an update of the A3's. The second was Volkswagen's 1.9 liter TDI diesel engine. The third was an updated VR6.
The A5 Jetta debuted as a new model in 2005. And is still in production. The A5 was restyled and is powered by a 2.5-liter, 20-valve, DOHC, inline 5 cylinder engine based upon the Lamborghini Gallardo's V-10 power plant. This volkswagen engine produces 150 horsepower.
(Source: Mark Castle)
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