While other manufacturers are pushing their aggressive alternative fuel programs and products based on electric solutions in the US in particular, stubborn Volkswagen continues to triumph the force-fed internal combustion engine with success. To celebrate this accomplishment combined with the actual race series developed for aspiring young drivers, Volkswagen decided to offer a limited edition Cup Version of the outgoing Jetta to its fans.
The irony is that the maximum age allowed to drive in the Cup series is 26 years old, yet the actual buyers of this street version will mostly be older than that and who may not even be aware of such a factory-backed race program. The TDi Jetta Cup edition is not a race ready variant at all; it simply visually resembles the race car with unique 18” wheels, body graphics, an optional rear wing which our test car had, and the matching front, side and rear fascias with rocker panel extensions. I prefer the standard projector headlights with HID and the front foglamps though, the Cup edition uses the “lighter” and racier looking traditional open halogen assemblies with no front fog lamps at all. In their place is an aggressive front bumper with massive simulated front scoops that have no other function besides design and a touch, if at all, better aerodynamics.
I also do not like the painted red brake calipers either. The brake calipers are stock single-caliper units and not exotic multi-piston units, so it’s a very embarrassing visual touch. It doesn’t help that there is no improvement in brake performance compared to a standard Jetta TDi. The 225/40YR18 Pirelli P-Zero Nero tires and not the painted calipers are what help improve the driving dynamics a tad.
The actual TDi Jetta race cars weigh less than the street model by more than 400 pounds, are completely stripped of any creature comforts and make a lot more power, 170 bhp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The European consumer version of the TDi Cup Edition uses the better tuned engine also because in Europe you can actually legally explore the car’s abilities on a daily basis so it makes sense.
The US version is essentially a poser, or for the more positive inclined, the best driving enthusiast alternative to buying a Prius or Insight. Our test unit’s best feature is in the cabin. I love VW’s Interlagos plaid cloth treatment, essentially the same as those used in the Golf GTI. Our test unit had the excellent DSG transmission too, so dynamically the Jetta drove as well as the previous versions we tested. The only difference is style, which is moot now as the much larger and more refined all-new 6th generation Jetta is out on sale. With aftermarket tuning, though, this Jetta Cup car can still get the thrills that it would like to portray.
Specification – 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Edition
Engine: Inline-4, 1968cc, sohc 16V, Direct Injection Turbodiesel, 6-Speed DSG
Max power: 140 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Max torque: 236 lb ft @ 1750 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 8.6 sec.
Top Speed: 210 km/h (130 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 30 mpg City & 42 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 31,113.00
+Loads of character and outstanding fuel efficiency
-Last of the 5th generation Jettas
C! RATING 9.0/10