Final report: One-year-plus is an eternity in Autocar long-termer terms, and that no doubt leads to some memories being made.
A lot can happen in a year. Well, 15 months, actually; I guess time actually does fly when you’re having fun. And with a car like the Virtus GT, it’s hard not to have fun every time you’re at the wheel, even if that comes with a few not-so-fun consequences. It has the ability, for better or worse, to change your driving style; it certainly did mine. To make the meekest, slowest, most efficiency-oriented driver chase every gap in traffic and visit the redline in every gear.
Even if you forget to slow down for a speed breaker, it will clear most of them with its suspension fully compressed too. Hmm, suspension lowering kit, anyone?
That last bit is less of a character change and more a result of the GT’s hyperactive 7-speed DSG gearbox. Every time a traffic light changed from red to green felt like a race start, the front tyres chirping away, a bit of torque steer needing to be reined in via the steering wheel. Only one of the three instruments screen configurations features a tachometer, but, of course, it’s the one I defaulted to, just to see the digital needle swing past 6,000. It sure put some excitement into my trafficky trips to the office, but it also meant the front tyres started to wear a little quicker than usual. With all that ferocious stop-and-go, the brakes, too, had all but bit the dust by the time this review was done, but having soldiered through 12,000km of cut-and-thrust commuting, they seem to have lasted long enough.
Driver’s one-touch window function often fails midway.
I seldom took the Viruts out of the city, largely because most of these journeys were for shoots, and shoots prefer the utility of a liftback boot, not a sedan. The one time I did, however, it was in its last weeks with me, and I regretted never having done it before. The Virtus is an astounding highway car, with rock-solid high-speed stability, effortless cruising in seventh gear and tall, well-tuned suspension that shrugs off broken rural roads like they’re nothing.
Rarely went on shoots due to ‘less practical’ sedan boot, but obviously it has a use.
What else happened over these 15 quick months? I noticed a few oddities in and around the Virtus, like the fact that the boot will shut on your head unless you forcibly prop it up and hold it in place for a second, or that the driver’s one-touch window function sometimes fails when it’s halfway up. Or some electric and electronic gremlins, like the wireless charger refusing to charge at random, or Android Auto disconnecting upon honking. I’m told some of these can be fixed with a software update, though.
Low, wide back seat a big hit with my dog.
The Virtus is perhaps our only long-termer that has had two different registration numbers, as it first came to us with a temporary registration (and red number plate), but was quickly sent in for a proper registration (and the white number plate you see now). Apart from the drudgery of the daily commute, it went on many an exciting night drive, and even some quieter special nights out to someplace fancy. It was also the car in which I took my dog on a very emotional last drive before he passed a few months ago. Either way, these memories will now be forever intertwined with this Wild Cherry Red VW Virtus.
Never afraid to go off the beaten path thanks to its 179mm of ground clearance.
All good things must come to an end, though, and 15 months is long by our usual long-term standards. Was it perfect? Of course not. One of the aforementioned consequences of having fun no doubt being the less-than-stellar fuel economy. But having spent the time I have with VW’s stellar sedan, it’s clear why it’s played an instrumental role in the renaissance of the midsize sedan segment, and also why you should pick it if you’re shopping for such a car. If you enjoy driving, it will always put a smile on your face.