Volkswagen Virtus 1.5 GT manual revealed; launch by June this year

This will be VW Virtus' final mechanical update and no hybrid or EV variant will be offered in it's current guise.

By Saptarshi Mondal, Autocar India calendar 18 Apr 2023 Views icon9102 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

In what will be a huge delight for enthusiasts, Volkswagen has announced that it will soon launch a new manual variant of the Virtus 1.5 TSI. So far, the 1.5 TSI engine on the Virtus was only available with the 7-speed DSG gearbox in GT Plus trim. Crucially, the manual gearbox with the 1.5 TSI engine will also lower the entry point to this more powerful engine.

New Volkswagen Virtus 1.5 TSI MT variant incoming
The manual gearbox with the 150hp, 250Nm, 1.5-litre turbo-petrol on the Virtus will be the same 6-speed unit that’s offered with the Slavia, Kushaq and Taigun. In fact, the Virtus was the only India 2.0 model that was not offered with a manual gearbox with the 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine. While its Czech counterpart, the Skoda Slavia offered this powertrain option from launch, it's interesting that VW saved this launch for the Virtus' first anniversary in India.

It's also very timely, as rival Hyundai has just launched the new Verna with a 160hp, turbo-petrol engine with both manual and automatic gearboxes, aimed directly at the performance-oriented top end of the midsize sedan segment. Thus far, this space was dominated by Volkswagen and Skoda exclusively.

Volkswagen will offer the Virtus 1.5 TSI MT only on the top-spec GT Plus trim, unlike the Taigun 1.5 TSI, which is also available in a lower GT trim. In both cases, however, this 'GT Line' includes several visual differentiators, like black alloy wheels, GT badges and a black-and-red colour theme on the interior, which is something the Skoda Slavia doesn't offer on its 1.5 TSI variants; they look exactly the same as the lesser 1.0 TSI variants.

Volkswagen Virtus 1.5 TSI MT launch and expected price
The Volkswagen 1.5 TSI GT Plus DSG is currently priced at Rs 18.57 lakh, ex showroom, and you can expect the manual to be considerably more affordable. For reference, spec to spec, the Slavia 1.5 TSI DSG costs Rs 1.4 lakh more than the manual equivalent. However, a key advantage Skoda has is that it offers the Slavia 1.5 TSI in lower trims with both gearboxes, for an even lower entry price.

For reference, the manual version of the Slavia 1.5 TSI in its top-spec Style trim is priced at 17 lakh, ex-showroom, and you can expect the Virtus 1.5 TSI MT price to be in the same ballpark. Prices will be announced in June 2023, a year after the car's launch, and deliveries could begin shortly thereafter.

The Virtus, along with the Taigun, have proven immensely successful for the brand in India, with the former averaging around 1,600 units per month since its launch, and the latter around 2,000 units. This allowed the brand to take a 1.2 percent market share in 2022, but it's yet to break into the top ten carmakers list. While the 1.5 TSI engine thus far only accounts for a meagre 10 percent of sales, hopefully this lower price point and manual gearbox will increase that number, and in the process find more customers for Volkswagen India.

New colours, special editions to keep Volkswagen Virtus fresh
Apart from saving the 1.5 TSI MT launch for later, Volkswagen will also introduce new special editions to keep the Virtus line up fresh. The first of these will be a ‘GT Edge Limited Collection’ for the 1.5 TSI with both manual and automatic gearboxes. Limited in volumes, the special edition models will get an exclusive ‘Deep Black Pearl’ paint. Meanwhile, all variants of the Volkswagen Virtus will also get a new ‘Lava Blue’ paint shade – previously offered on the Tiguan as well as many Skoda models, including a recent introduction on the Slavia and Kushaq.

Volkswagen has, in the past, launched numerous special editions of its models, like the Polo and Vento, in order to breathe some life into them in the face of newer competition. However, those were towards the end of their life cycles, which were already extended far longer than they were in global markets. The VW Virtus GT Edge Limited Collection, as well as the late introduction of the 1.5 TSI MT, appear to be similar introductions, as there will be no further mechanical updates. The VW Virtus and Taigun will not get any new engines, gearboxes, hybrid or EV variants in their current guises, and with the recent resurgence of the midsize sedan segment with the all-new Verna and facelifted City (not to mention the huge popularity of the midsize SUV segment), it's updates like these that will help keep these models fresh and relevant for the years to come.

Also See: 
2023 Volkswagen Taigun now gets new trims, colors, and special editions 

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