In European markets, the Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 is already a popular, multi-use van. We’ve certainly seen more than a few nifty camper conversions over the years, but this time around, the conversion comes straight from the source. Also, it’s not a camper upfit, but something a bit more lively.
The T6.1 Sportline is pretty much as the name suggests. The basic formula of adding cool wheels and red trim is in full effect here, but it goes beyond that to make the Sportline an actual sporty van inside, outside, and underneath. With regards to underneath, the Sportline gets a tweaked suspension that lowers the van 30 millimeters (1.18 inches). The drop is further enhanced with a body kit that adds a custom front fascia and side bars. Of course there’s an obligatory roof spoiler, and the wheels are gloss black 18-inchers front and rear.
Inside, the Sportline gets Nappa honeycomb leather seats with suede trim. It’s also packed with tech, not the least of which includes a digital cockpit which is a first for the panel van or Kombi. The front seats are heated, the sound system is upgraded, a Discover Media nav system is included, and a suite of driver-assist systems include adaptive cruise, emergency auto braking, front/rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera.
Curiously, VW offers a sport upgrade to this already upgraded sporty model. The Sportline Black Edition offers a bit more black in terms of a dark window tint for Kombi models, matte black side bars, and an “exclusive” but unnamed color for the wheels. Black Edition decals are also added, the nav system is upgraded, but as with the standard Sportline, it’s not just an appearance group. The Black Edition also gains Eibach coilover suspension for some enhanced moves.
As for power, you won’t find any upgrades. However, the Sportline does come standard with the Transporter’s range-topping 2.0-liter TDI engine good for 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts). Power is doled out through a seven-speed DSG transmission, and as such, VW says the Sportline can reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds.
The Sportline is available on panel and Kombi models, short wheelbase or long. Pricing starts at £42,940, with the Sportline Black Edition starting at £49,450 and available only in short-wheelbase format. The Transporter is forbidden fruit in the US market, but for those across the pond, order banks open at the end of March with deliveries expected in July.