The 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup Edition is a vehicle that is truly special for fans of performance handling at Volkswagen. Not only does it mix the fuel efficiency and power of the TDI diesel engines with GTI performance prowess but it also manages to look like the meanest production Jetta the world has ever known.
But Jettas are nice and sweet and those TDI models are great for the environment, right? Well, that is partially true but the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Edition is closest in feel and appearance to the high performance Jetta GLI. Especially considering that this TDI variant is the only one treated to the Interlagos tartan seat fabric exclusive to the GTI and GLI.
But the Cup Edition takes it up a notch further with visual add-ons like a gaping front air dam that makes the car look like it plans on eating you for lunch. My test Jetta TDI Cup Edition also benefited from over $2700 in racy visual add-ons that positively screamed “The Fast and the Furious.” Now, this is a diesel right?
What Makes the Jetta TDI Cup Edition Special?
This model is the street legal replica of the Jetta racing cars that are used in the VW sponsored TDI Cup Series that is held at race tracks all across the country. Unfortunately that is for race car drivers only but you can log onto VW’s website and challenge other TDI owners to a “mileage race” where you attempt to beat the average fuel economy of other drivers. That’s not quite the same as zipping around a race track but it can still be fun.
The 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Edition adds a sport suspension, the aforementioned Interlagos seat upholstery, alloy pedals, more powerful brakes with red calipers and ferocious looking 18-inch Charleston alloy wheels to the regular TDI’s long list of standard features. Also note that the TDI Cup Edition comes with standard fit all-season tires (as most new cars in America do) so performance drivers may want to upgrade to a more serious set of rubber.
With a “Laser Blue” exterior color and enough body spoilers to make a Subaru STI owner cry into his Corn Flakes, the 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup Edition is not a car for shrinking violets. It announces to the world that it is the sporting TDI with a rather large “TDI Cup Edition” logo at the bottom of the passenger door. I am not sure I would have picked that but it suits the vehicle’s in your face demeanor.
Interior Styling and Quality
I have said it before and I will say it again-the current VW Golf, Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen have the most gorgeously appointed and deliciously tactile interiors of any car in their respective price classes. No one knows how to do an interior like VW and with the 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup that is proven yet again.
With the sturdy Interlagos seat fabric the interior of the TDI Cup Edition felt much like that of a GTI barring the fact that the sportiest golf has a steering wheel with a squared off bottom. I suppose that makes it sportier.
Otherwise all controls are logically arranged, the Bluetooth is simple to set up and everything is assembled with Germanic precision. Even though this car was built in Mexico. But that’s not the point.
Ah, well, the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Edition can be a very comfortable family sedan with room for four adults (five in a pinch) or can serve as your personal back roads racer. It’s really up to you how you use it as the interior is so versatile.
Features, Pricing and Fuel Economy
First off let’s talk about the fuel economy for the Jetta TDI Cup Edition with the DSG double clutch automatic. It is rated at the same 30 city/42 highway as the 6-speed manual 2010 Golf TDI I tested earlier this year but contrary to what I expected the DSG didn’t prove to be more efficient.
The DSG in the TDI Cup Edition averaged a still excellent 35.6 miles per gallon while the Golf TDI with the manual averaged 41 miles per gallon. Perhaps this gap was down to my repeated use of the standard paddle shifters in the Cup Edition to help keep the engine on the boil or maybe it was because the Jetta’s engine had fewer miles on it. Diesel engines are well known for improving their fuel economy averages as they accrue miles.
The 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Edition starts at a wholly reasonable $24,990 and comes standard with air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, Bluetooth, AM/FM/6-Disc 8 speaker audio, a leather wrapped steering wheel with phone and audio controls, Sirius, cruise control, floormats and, of course, VW’s very generous 3 year/36,000 mile free maintenance plan.
My test car added the DSG ($1,100), a power sunroof ($1,000), rear spoiler ($459), the aforementioned “TDI Cup Edition” body kit package ($2,350), a Jetta Mat Kit consisting of rubber floormats and a trunk liner ($225) and lastly an essential iPod media interface ($199).
Auxiliary input jacks are nice for your iPod but changing a song while you are driving is as dangerous as texting unless you have a USB type iPod interface. I find it odd, however, that the iPod interface isn’t standard with the Jetta TDI Cup Edition as every 2010 Golf TDI comes with such a system. That’s a shame because VW’s excellent touch screen audio system makes manipulating your iPod sub-menus a “keep your eyes on the road” endeavor.
The Cup Edition is powered by the same powerful feeling 2.0 liter turbocharged 140 horsepower/236 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder diesel engine used in regular TDI models. In this iteration it was attached to VW’s DSG double clutch automatic and offered prodigious amounts of thrust most especially at cruising speeds.
I did sense a bit more turbo lag in this DSG auto equipped tester, however, than was evident in a previous six-speed manual 2010 Golf TDI I tested. This problem was easily fixed by using the standard fit paddle shifters, probably affecting my fuel economy in a negative way.
Other than that the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Edition rides, steers and handles much like a GTI meaning it is sporty when you want to play but can be smooth and comfortable when you need it to be. This is a grown up’s road racer, no matter what the spoilers may be telling you.
How Dog and Kid Friendly Is It?
While the outside of the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Edition may look irresponsible and racy, this is still a Jetta so it can definitely handle family hauling duties. The huge 16 cubic foot trunk can easily accommodate a baby stroller and the interior materials are solid enough to withstand canine abuse.
If you have a larger dog that likes to travel with you consider a safety harness that attaches to the rear seat belt. Dogs can become projectiles in a panic stop or accident and the result of that could be catastrophic. For more information go to BarkBuckleUp.com.
Now, while I might not be the first one to sign on for all the spoilers that are included in the TDI Cup Edition Body Kit, I do have to say that over the course of the week I started looking down on more plebian Jettas. Somehow by mixing it all with the sport seats and those awesome alloy wheels the overall result was a car that looked ready for a race track.
I do hope that with the 2011 Jetta they continue with the TDI Cup Edition since that would no doubt mean it would be equipped with the 2011 Jetta GLI-only independent rear suspension. And you can’t have a racing Jetta without that!
Other than that the car performed flawlessly and I really enjoyed my time with the DSG double clutch automatic. It gives the diesel engine a different feel that is uniquely sporting in its own right. Still, I’d go for the six-speed manual if I were buying this car if only so I could win that online VW fuel economy challenge.
Vehicle Tested: 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup
Base Price: $24,990
Price as Tested: $31,113 (including $750 destination fee)
Options on Tester: TDI Cup Edition Body Kit-(includes front bumper and side sill extensions, rear valance):$2350, 6-speed DSG double clutch automatic: $1,100, Power Sunroof: $1,000, Rear Wing Spoiler: $459, Jetta Mat Kit-(includes four rubber floormats and CarGo trunk mat):$225, Media Interface for iPod: $199
TDI Cup Special Standard Features: (GTI style Interlagos Sport Seats, TDI Cup side decal and door sill scuff plates, electronic differential lock, sport suspension, 18-inch Charleston alloy wheels)
Engine: 2.0 liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder
Power: 140 horsepower/236 lb. feet of torque
0-60: 8 seconds (estimated)
EPA Fuel Economy: 30 city/42 highway
Economy as tested: 35.6 miles per gallon
Gas Tank: 14.5 gallons
Required Fuel: Diesel
Trunk Size: 16 cubic feet
NHTSA Safety Ratings: Front Impact-(Driver and Passenger)-4 stars
Side Impact: (Both Sides)-5 stars
Rollover: 4 stars
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 mile no charge maintenance
3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty
5 years/60,000 powertrain warranty
Assembly Points: Engine-Germany
Vehicle Provided by: VW of America