We, well actually my fiance has an 06 GLI. I would definitely take the GLI over the Rabbit for a few reasons. Xenon headlights are amazing at night...make driving in the dark so much nicer. I hate getting in our 04 passat at night to drive. Depending on what package you get there are some great features. We have a package 2, so it has the leather sports seats which are a huge upgrade over the cloth ones. I havent sat in a rabbit yet but I am assuming they have to be worse than the base model GLI. In 07 they are getting rid of the headlight washers and are going to cheapen up on some of the little things but they are going to be lowering the car slightly...which to me is about the only good thing they are doing. Also the 2.0T engine gets better gas mileage and is a blast to drive. We were going to get an Audi A3 but comparing the GLI to that showed you that you get a lot for your money with the VW...besides the financing rate was a hell of a lot better due to VW credit.
I am of the mind why own a car and spend hours at a time driving it if you dont enjoy it. You only live once, yes cars depreciate pretty horribly but would you rather drive around in a 92 volvo beater for the rest of your life or enjoy what you drive. We spend too much time in cars as it is, you might as well love what you are driving. We own a house and though its a smart thing to do with your money its a lot more headache than any of my cars have ever been. Plus paying a car payment is nothing like having to pay your mortgage and taxes on a house.
Oh if you are going to get a rabbit on a lease but plan on driving a lot that might not work out too well. Remember leases are designed for people who dont do lots of miles. A lease of 15k a year is a lot of miles and once you go over you start paying a big premium.
A brave man will not live forever but a coward will never live.