The 2018 São Paulo International Motor Show is in full swing and Volkswagen is attending the event to exhibit not just the Tarok pickup truck concept, but also this lukewarm subcompact saloon. This one too is officially billed as a concept car, but the production version should look virtually the same. What is it? Virtus is essentially a saloon version for Latin America of the hugely popular Polo supermini available in Europe, while “GTS” is a watered-down GTI.

While the styling does faithfully follow the hot hatch, we can’t say the same thing about the engine underneath the bonnet. The Polo GTI comes with a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 197 bhp and 236 pound-feet of torque whereas the Virtus GTS has to make do with the familiar 1.5-litre TSI unit rated at 148 bhp and 184 lb-ft. This engine can also be had in Europe on the lesser versions of the Polo.

Gallery: Volkswagen Virtus GTS concept

Another big difference between the two heavily related models lies in the gearbox options. VW gives Euro buyers the freedom to pick between a six-speed manual and a six-speed DSG, while the Virtus GTS will eschew the manual to go auto-only.

As shown in the gallery attached below, there’s also a Polo GTS hatchback concept on display in Brazil with the same oily bits. Interestingly, VW will offer the dynamic duo with all the bells and whistles included right from the start, so there won’t be an options list. Goodies will include everything from a digital instrument cluster and an eight-inch touchscreen to a rearview camera and rain, light sensors.

It goes without saying the GTS trim will serve as the range-topping version of the Polo hatchback and the Virtus saloon, which are both produced by VW in Brazil at the Sao Carlos Plant. The two new models will go on sale locally at some point next year.

Photos: Donizetti Castilho / Brazil

Gallery: Volkswagen Polo GTS concept