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Carlos Castellanos’s 2019 VV Jetta GLi – Photographed by Devin Capriati

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Need for Speed. Let's not get it twisted: adventures through Underground, Hot Pursuit, and Most Wanted likely helped to shape our enthusiasm, at least to a small degree. I can vividly remember hours spent "tinkering" within the NFS, Midnight Club, and Grand Turismo universes on my Playstation as a kid, and it's clear I'm not alone. 2,000 miles away from where I grew up, across the Gulf of Mexico, was Carlos Castellanos, enjoying the same childhood highlights as he grew up in El Salvador. It comes as no surprise, then, that nearly two decades later, we find ourselves modifying cars with the same fervor, limited only by our wallets and the number of hours in the day. Twelve years ago, Carlos moved to the United States, and today, he celebrates a build that pays homage to his youth and the influences that shaped his passion: his 2019 Volkwagen Jetta GLi Autobahn.

Unlike the average StanceWorks feature, Carlos's car wasn't saved from the death-grip of Northern rust, nor was it plucked from a field and given a new lease on life. No - this one was driven straight off the lot of his local VW dealership: a 2.0 turbocharged model equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. Carlos was eager to tear into the MK7 chassis, having just been released when he signed the papers to take this one home. Carlos wasted no time making the car something of his own, starting with a few bolt-ons to liven the Jetta up. An intake, downpipe, exhaust, and a full APR Stage 2 tune work in unison to bring some extra power to an otherwise conservative build with respect to performance. As a car capable of daily duty and still under warranty, Carlos has opted for style over power.

On the other hand, "conservative" might not be the word everyone uses for the rest of the build. Carlos's Jetta certainly has an aggressive presence, amplified by the roof and trunk spoiler. The ride height, of course, sets the car off, thanks to a complete air ride solution from Bag Rigers. The bolt-on kit made for an easy installation, and the digital management gives Carlos complete control of the height and ride. Of course, there's the wheels, too: perhaps a centerpiece. Carlos opted for Revolve 0520 wheels, measuring out to 18" in diameter and filling the lowered wheel wells perfectly.

In all, it's a car with a commanding presence, and serves to remind us why Volkswagens always look better with a bit of personal flair applied. A special thanks to Devin Captriati for beautifully capturing this latest StanceWorks feature.