• Volkswagen Virtus long term update: 3,072km

We just had to have the Virtus, powered by the potent, 1.5 TSI engine in our long term fleet!

My first rendezvous with the 1.5 TSI engine was on the streets of Amsterdam when I drove the Volkswagen T-Roc there. I was enamoured by its performance and of course, the engine found its way to our shores in the T-Roc, before being plonked into the Taigun last year. And we now have it in the Virtus, which is more than just a new launch for the car maker. The car impressed me with its affable manners and then there was the 1.5 TSI under its hood, impressing me all over again. Interestingly, Volkswagen is offering the 1.5 TSI powered version of the Virtus with its seven-speed DSG only and not as a manual.

And coincidentally, while the Skoda Slavia that also joins our longterm fleet this month is the automatic version powered by the 1.0 TSI, the Virtus that has joined our fleet is the 1.5 TSI automatic! Interesting turn of events, ensuring we get to sample both powertrains. Coming back to the Virtus, being the biggest car in the premium sedan segment it boasts class-leading space. But yes, while space in the second row is excellent, what’s more impressive for me is the amount of space I have around me when behind the wheel. The Virtus thus feels like a properly large car and one that is closer to the erstwhile Jetta that was sold in the country in terms of cabin space and roominess.

Outside, there’s lots of interesting cues as well, like the gloss black treatment for the 16-inch alloy wheels that is exclusive to the range-topping GT Line trim, the gloss black finish on the front bumper and also the boot-mounted spoiler, all of which come together to help in distinguishing the GT Line from the other versions and also make for a sportier appearance.

If I could, one of the first things I’d do is reduce the car’s ride height – nothing wrong with it, in fact the 179mm ground clearance is a boon on our roads, but it just takes away some of the car’s visual appeal as a sedan. I’m willing to bet the Virtus will look a lot sportier if slammed as the gap in the wheel arches will be reduced, which will be in line with the fact that it is meant to be a driver’s car. I also like the steering responses and given its performance and dynamics, I just had to take the Virtus to one of my favourite hill roads for an early morning drive as soon as the car came to us. This is something I wasn’t able to do on the arrow straight roads of Amritsar where we drove the Virtus last month and with 150PS and 250Nm on tap, the 1.5 TSI made the sedan a hoot around corners. The experience also reminded me of my time in the Vento race car a few years ago when I’d raced it in the media race of the Volkswagen one-make championship. That said, it should be interesting to see if the Virtus is the car that replaces the now discontinued Polo as a race car!

 

Cars Long term garage

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