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2011 Volkswagen Jetta, an AW Flash Drive

Volkswagen has sold almost 10 million Jettas since the first one rolled into showrooms in 1979. This 2011 Jetta sedan rides on a largely new chassis with what eventually will be five engine and four transmission choices.

When the first two models enter showrooms in October, you will have a choice of a 115-hp 2.0-liter four or a 170-hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder powerplant mated to a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

A 140-hp, 236-lb-ft, 2.0-liter TDI diesel will come by the end of the year. In early 2011, the GLi arrives with a 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo TSI engine. The turbodiesel comes mated to your choice of a six-speed manual or Volkswagen’s vaunted and efficient DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GLi will have the DSG, but we don’t know yet whether another transmission will be offered.

A hybrid Jetta is due out by 2012.

All those models sit on a new chassis that looks, from a CAD printout we saw of it, to consist of about equal parts carryover, modified and new pieces. The goal with the new chassis was to strengthen it for stricter crash-test standards but at the same time, lighten it up. Engineers accomplished both, shaving off about 40 pounds depending on which configuration you weigh. Curb weights for the new car start at 2,804 pounds.

The new body is 2.9 inches longer overall, 2.7 inches of which translates directly to more rear-seat legroom.
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