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by Tim Beissmann

Updated with official launch details and comments from Volkswagen Australia.

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta has been officially unveiled at a ceremony in New York’s Times Square overnight.

Following the design language of all new Volkswagens, the Jetta is sharper, squarer and more refined, based heavily on the New Coupe Concept revealed at Detroit in January and taking cues from the smaller Golf and Polo.

Behind the leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel sits a redesigned dashboard featuring aluminium highlights and an integrated multifunction display.

At 4.64m, the new Jetta is 9cm longer than the outgoing model, and more than 6cm of that growth is in legroom thanks to the expanded wheelbase. Loadspace is also impressive at 510 litres.

The European engine line-up experiences a few changes, with four petrol and two diesel units available.

An entry-level 77kW 1.2-litre TSI petrol is new, while the twincharged 118kW 1.4-litre TSI has also been added. The 90kW 1.4-litre TSI and the 147kW 2.0-litre TSI units remain unchanged. Diesel options include the 77kW 1.6-litre TDI and 103kW 2.0-litre TDI. Volkswagen’s DSG twin-clutch transmission will be available on all but the entry-level petrol model.

BlueMotion variants of the 1.2 TSI and 1.6 TDI will also be added to selected markets. Combining start-stop technology and brake regeneration, Volkswagen says the petrol version will use 5.3 litres/100km combined and emit 123g/km CO2, while the BlueMotion diesel model will use as little as 4.2 litres/100km and emit 109g/km.

As expected, six airbags, ABS and stability control are standard across the range.

UK sales are expected to start early in 2011 with a price tag around £17,000 ($29,200).

Volkswagen Australia’s Karl Gehling said the Jetta would arrive in Australia next year, but could not reveal any more details about its launch.

Local sales of the current Jetta, which ranges from $28,990 for the 77TDI to $38,990 for the 147TSI Highline, have increased 6.3 percent year-to-date for 2010 but remain modest overall in the popular sub-$60K Medium segment.

Volkswagen Australia has sold 728 Jettas through the first five months of the year, representing a 3.0 percent share of the market, 286 units and 1.2 percent behind the larger and more expensive Passat, which is officially listed in the same category.




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