Smallest & most powerful cars under Rs 40 lakh with manual transmission

I find the 7-speed DSG very slow & choppy compared to my own manual shifting & hence, as of now, I like the VW Virtus GT Plus 1.5 MT.

BHPian unrudh recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

After moving to Bangalore, I am finally thinking of trading in the old family i20 (which I have loved) for a new car.

My goal has always been to find a hatchback with a big engine (I live alone, so don’t need the passenger or cargo space, the smaller the car, the better for Bangalore traffic, and I love to drive). Alas, hot hatches don’t exist in India. At least, not unless I plan to go Merc or Mini. And I don’t want to go to that budget for another 5 years or so.

With no hatchback fitting my requirements, I moved up to bigger cars. I ruled out compact SUVs because they just fit larger chassis on the same sedan engines. So, I have finally landed on sedans.

I’ve been driving my parent’s 2022 Taigun GT on and off, and have been favourably impressed. The only downside is that I really enjoy full control over my vehicle, and I find the 7-speed DSG very slow and choppy compared to my own manual gear changing. Even the “manual mode” is only partially so, and the car keeps taking over.

Because I hardly ever get stressed out with my manual car, even in Bangalore traffic, I want a manual car, but with all the trims.

As of last year, I did not see any premium variants that were offered in manual. So I decided to put off the purchase.

But then, lo and behold 2023; VW introduces the new 1.5L TSI MT in the GT Plus with all the bells and whistles. While I wish they would do the same with Polo or Golf in India, that’s a pipe dream. So as of now, Virtus GT Plus 1.5 MT is the one to beat. The only thing left to do is test drive when it finally arrives in Bangalore and then pick a colour.

But I am very interested to hear if anyone has any suggestions on alternates. I am still open to changing my mind. Fun drive, and as small and light a footprint as possible.

I am excited!

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

Spend a little more money now, save big in the longer term. Please read my article on this topic – How a more expensive car can work out cheaper (if you hold onto it for longer).

It’s a fun car. If you are very firm on MTs, by all means, get the Virtus.

A lot of us enthusiasts have converted from MT -> ATs after experiencing the new, fast & smooth gearboxes. If you are open to ATs, see if any dealers have leftover stock of Octavias. In your budget, I would strongly consider pre-owned cars = Octavia vRS, BMW 330i & the Polo GTI (1.8L TSI engine – just what you want). These 3 will be a total blast to drive!

Here’s what BHPian VaibhavShatna95 had to say about the matter:

I guess Skoda Octavia is a much more complete package in that price range. Its wet clutch DSG should be much better than DQ200 too.

I don’t think Virtus is comparable to Octavia though in any metric, so if you have the budget then why not?

Here’s what BHPian bijims had to say about the matter:

Manual sedans in this price range are few and far between, the Virtus, Slavia, City, and Verna are your only options that come with a manual in the top trim, with the Virtus and Slavia being the most fun to drive of the lot, so basically these are your only options for a new manual car in this price range at the moment.

Here’s what BHPian shankar.balan had to say about the matter:

Have you not ever considered a second hand car? There are so many nice ones out there.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say about the matter:

Pls think very carefully before going down the pre owned route at this time. All these cars – Octavia, Polo GTi etc, with the exception of BMWs, are not E20 compliant. Long-term ownership will not be peaceful or straightforward. Even today, the 2023 Kodiaq and the new GLC remain only E10 rated.

That right there is a huge reason to go for the Virtus, manual or automatic. Pls limit options to only E20-rated cars if you want to consider pre owned cars, which means mainly BMWs and Minis. You live in a Tier 1 city, which means you’ll be the first affected by whatever new fuel blend they will introduce in future. You will always get the higher ethanol %.

Here’s what BHPian lamborghini had to say about the matter:

A pre-owned Cooper S could be a good buy given your requirements : Find an example with low running and within warranty.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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