Volkswagen Virtus: The next big thing
Before the rise of SUVs, Volkswagen was known to be a sedan maker. Besides the venerable Polo hatchback, the Vento, Jetta, Passat and even the sub-4 metre Ameo are the sedans that Volkswagen is known for in India and now it's time for their newest offering, the Volkswagen Virtus. One quick Google search and you'll realise that the Virtus name has been around for a while and it in fact is a very well-to-do nomenclature in the South American market. What we've gotten here though is an all-new Virtus, a car that will be built in India for the world, and we find out what makes it tick.
Volkswagen Virtus design
The Virtus is available in two trims — the Dynamic line and the Performance line, with the latter getting colour contrasting black alloy wheels, mirror caps and a black roof. On the styling front, you have a choice of six colour options and the new Virtus looks absolutely smashing, especially so in the GT variant when dressed in the wild Cherry Red colour. The sedan is bound to attract attention with these vibrant shades. While the understated styling will age well with time, as all Volkswagens do, the bright colours add to the personality of the Virtus.
Up front, the Virtus gets just the right amount of chrome on the bumper and grille, with a pair of sleek wraparound LED projector headlights that sport an L-shaped DRL signature. Moving to the side, the Virtus features a sleek look that brings out the large glass area of the side windows. It gets a forward stance that adds to its athleticism. And while the Virtus retains a classic three-box silhouette, the sloping roofline does give it a very cool fastback-like stance.
At the rear, the Virtus features smoked tail-lights featuring sleek LED elements that take centre stage and apart from the chrome lining on the bumper, the rear of the Virtus is fuss free. Subtle touches like a minimalist lip spoiler add in to its sporty appeal. The overall design of the Virtus exudes dynamism and it definitely stands out from its other mid-size sedan competitors.
Volkswagen Virtus interior
A plush, comfortable, cozy and well built cabin – if you expect that from a sedan, you're in for a treat with the Virtus. One step inside and you are greeted by a beige and black interior theme, which is visible on the dashboard as well as the seats and gloss black inserts on the centre console. The GT Line, on the other hand, features black upholstery with contrast red stitching for the seats while the brushed aluminium inserts make way for red inserts. The interior is identical to that of the Taigun, with ambient lighting as well as an 8-inch digital cockpit. The system is bright and legible and offers a whole host of information and the ability to customise it as per your taste. You also get a 10-inch touchscreen for infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so there won’t be any need to fiddle with cables. Volkswagen has made sure this unit is sharp and responsive and to keep you entertained, it is mated to an 8-speaker surround sound music system. The Virtus also gets a wireless charging pad to keep your mobile phone fully juiced up on those long drives.
The front leather seats are ventilated and there's also a cooled glovebox, in addition to a sunroof. More features include cruise control, a reversing camera with parking sensors and Volkswagen's Connect 2.0 system that allows you to monitor aspects of your Virtus like real time tracking, its service history and even fuel cost overview.
Move to the back and what will impress you the most is the space on offer. Knee-room, and headroom is excellent by class standards and this is a backseat where you can seat two adults very comfortably. With a wheelbase of 2,651mm the Virtus also boasts of the longest wheelbase and best rear seat legroom in its class. Not only does this sedan excel with class leading features, it also tops the segment with its boot space – 521 litres to be precise.
A part of the Volkswagen group’s India 2.0 strategy, the Virtus is the fourth car that's underpinned on the highly localised and Indianised MQB-A0-IN platform. This platform also forms the base of other VW and Skoda products like the Taigun, the Skoda Kushaq and the Skoda Slavia. We have driven the Virtus recently and we can attest that it definitely sets the fun to drive benchmark in its segment. This is a platform that offers the best of both worlds — a supple ride for daily driving comfort and confident handling that a true car nut will appreciate.
Volkswagen Virtus engines
You can have the Volkswagen Virtus with either a 1-litre or a 1.5-litre TSI turbo-petrol engine. The larger 1.5-litre motor is not only bigger, but it has trick up its sleeve. It’s capable of putting out 148bhp and 250Nm, and channels all that drive to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, or a seven-speed DSG. What’s more, this engine has cylinder deactivation tech, shutting off two cylinders every time you are cruising to save fuel. Meanwhile, the 1-litre TSI produces 113bhp of power and 178Nm of torque. It comes mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque converter automatic. And while the 1-litre variant will be the more affordable Virtus, the 1.5-litre definitely appeals to the enthusiast in us. That coupled with the stiffness of the MQB-A0-IN platform, makes the Virtus a true driver's car. It also offers the perfect split personality, enthusing you when you're behind the wheel and cosseting you in comfort when you are chauffeur driven. Volkswagen seems to have got all bases covered with such a well rounded package like the Virtus and one thing’s for sure – the sedan is all set to become great again!
Do check out our first drive review of the Virtus and you can also read about the sedan in the latest issue of evo India Magazine!