A lap of Mutha. In a full-sized premium sedan. That was the plan when I decided to borrow the Volkswagen Passat and chase our biker boys up our favourite driving road, the road leading up to Lavasa an hour outside of Pune. It didn’t quite seem like a great idea to a lot of people, including me. The incessant rain of the monsoon that refuses to retreat made it seem even worse – it looked gloomy, traffic was guaranteed, we certainly would be drenched if and when we decided to get out for some fresh mountain air, and the biker boys decided they were made of sugar and would dissolve if they headed out in the rain. No buddies then but, well, I trusted the Volkswagen Passat and the weather usually changes pretty quickly up in Lavasa. So, off I went in search of a few hours of some driving fun behind the wheel of the most accomplished premium sedan this side of the other Germans.
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The first sight of the enormous speed breakers on our way out of Pune reaffirmed the faith I had put in the Volkswagen Passat; it has answers to the numerous questions those man-made mountains ask of ground clearance and we got through without even a single scrape. I was now certain that this sedan could do a lot more than I had initially thought it was capable of.
“Three hundred and fifty Newton metres of torque make you surge ahead effortlessly, safe with the knowledge that the impressive brakes will haul you in if you ever overcook a corner”
174 horses and 350Nm at your disposal
The roads weren’t in great shape and several high-speed sections were turned into first gear crawlers where we tried to avoid huge potholes. All through this, the ride remained pliant thanks to a suspension that is finely tuned to handle the bad roads that we find here in India. You actually wonder what roads the German engineers tested the Passat on (German roads are definitely not like this!) because it works brilliantly on ours – and there’s no sogginess in the suspension to cause the chin to graze on the nasties. After almost an hour of crawling through traffic and rumbling over rain-ravaged roads we finally found some sections where we called upon the services of all 174 horses. They arrived and they arrived with all their might. Two quick tugs of the left paddle behind the steering wheel and a light dab at the throttle were all that was required for the DSG to get the engine responding immediately. Three hundred and fifty Newton metres of torque make you surge ahead effortlessly, safe with the knowledge that the impressive brakes will haul you in if you ever overcook a corner. The lightness that the steering demonstrates in the city soon made way for a rather precise instrument that you need to attack the fast corners that Mutha is famous for.
We had just started and alas the fun had to stop. There was traffic and loads of it along with hordes of errant tourists looking for a selfie. Shifting to comfort mode, we trundled along. The sun played hide and seek with us all this while it seemed a waste bribing Gaurav with brew from Starbucks in return for cool content for my Instagram. I was particularly keen on ribbing my colleagues who were spooked by a few grey clouds – nothing worse than seeing dear old me pop up on their feeds chilling in the lovely Volkswagen Passat cabin. Hashtag living the life, hashtag not made of sugar, hashtag weekday wheels.
“Even though the weather, the traffic and the roads conspired and attempted to ruin our drive, the Volkswagen Passat confidently steered all of the woes away whilst cocooning us in the lap of luxury”
Not very imaginative. Never mind. A million jokes were made about my terrible idea for a picture as we cruised up and down Lavasa waiting for the rain to subside. We soon found a place to park and the rain gods too decided to leave us alone for a bit. The Passat basked in the sunlight for a few moments and we looked out of the huge sunroof that soon bathed the cabin in Vitamin D and Instagram rays that is more important for your well-being than you realise.
It’s on days like these that you appreciate the brilliance of the Volkswagen Passat
Even though the weather, the traffic and the roads conspired and attempted to ruin our drive, the Volkswagen Passat confidently steered all of the woes away whilst cocooning us in the lap of luxury. The few moments where it had the chance, it brought a smile to our faces with its great driving dynamics. Actually, scratch that. I don’t remember a moment where I wasn’t enjoying the drive. It makes you forget about everything around it, and I didn’t even mention the really great sound deadening that blankets out all outside noises. The Volkswagen Passat, then, is a truly wonderful car to head out on your favourite driving road – with or without your mates.