On many levels, the Volkswagen Jetta continues to surprise after four decades of production: German engineering, amazing fuel economy, and turbocharged style paired to a manual transmission for under $20k? This is almost unheard of during these trying times in the automotive world. In 1984, Volkswagen decided to go even further by gracing us with the Volkswagen Jetta GLI. Naturally, Daily Motor was handed the keys to a Pure White 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with a BeatsAudio nine-speaker, 400-watt premium sound system, so we pitted it against other competing systems to see how well it stacked up.
First, Volkswagen’s infotainment system on the VW Jetta and other Volkswagen cars never disappoints, though it can annoy by limiting certain functions while moving. Available audio inputs on the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn are AM/FM/SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, USB port, CD Player, and SD card slot (2021 models come with USB-C ports). What’s missing is a 3.5mm auxiliary jack, but it’s pretty cool that Volkswagen is still putting CD players in their VW cars. Standard balance and fader settings are provided with speed dependent volume adjustability. A pretty nifty trick Volkswagen threw in is a proximity sensor meant to anticipate when your hand is close and will pop up the controls at the bottom of the Jetta’s screen.
Usually these high-end audio systems lead to us increasing the treble and bass in order to have the experience we’re looking for, but the Volkswagen Jetta BeatsAudio system forced us to turn both down a bit. The VW Jetta BeatsAudio is a good configuration; the tweeters work well and the subwoofer is decent for lighter bass. All in all, the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta BeatsAudio sound system scores a 6.5/10 overall and subjectively for a car of its class, a 7.5. It’s a great system with easy-to-use infotainment, but it does lack in the bass and mid-range. Thankfully, the Jetta GLI makes up for this with Volkswagen’s trick front differential!
How We Test the VW GLI:
Here at Daily Motor, we take sound systems seriously. We take every segment’s system, from the economy Toyota Corolla JBL to performance sedans like this VW Jetta GLI BeatsAudio, and put them through our in-depth sound-system testing. We use the same lossless, uncompressed WAV audio files on a USB stick plugged into the audio system to test the Volkswagen Jetta GLI system so that every platform we test starts from the same baseline. To give a realistic impression for the sound test, we use high-quality binaural microphones for recording. We test every system with its sound settings set to their factory settings, since that is how the radio’s engineers designed it to sound, but we test all the sound settings on many types of music before performing these reviews. After demonstrating the sound settings, adjustments, inputs, speaker locations, and Android Auto and/or Apple CarPlay functionality, we start out on the road to listen to our sample tracks at freeway speeds. Most vehicles can sound good while stationary, but road, wind, and engine noise can deteriorate music quality. At the end of the test, we give a rating based on audio quality and overall system usage as well as a subjective rating factoring in vehicle attributes and cost. Thanks for joining us in the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI’s sound test!