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Volkswagen Transporter T5 Sportline review - 180hp BiTDI T32 DSG

  • Great ride and handling
  • No cruise control or steering controls
  • Retail prices start from £29,940 (ex VAT)

Volkswagen Transporter T5 Sportline review - 180hp BiTDI T32 DSG

Over the past 15 years or so, the Volkswagen Transporter has established itself as a firm favourite among trade drivers, with residual values holding higher than any other in the medium van sector. It’s no surprise then that Volkswagen wants to maximise this success and launch special edition models, like the Transporter Sportline 60, for the growing number of Transporter enthusiasts.

The Volkswagen Transporter is one of only a few vans that could be described as an enthusiasts' van. The solid build quality, powerful engines and refined driving characteristics mean a lot of trade van drivers are willing to pay the extra money in order to own one.

Increased kerb appeal

A good job has been made to make the Sportline 60 stand out from the ‘standard’ Transporter. Black 18-inch alloys, side bars and door mirrors give a sporty and elegant look to the already attractive Sportline, on top of the colour-coded bumpers, roof spoiler and Sportline 60 detailing.

Our test vehicle came in Candy White with a Deep Black roof, which is an optional extra, whereas metallic silver and metallic black are the standard colours.

Cargo Area

Both kombi and panel van, and short and long wheelbase versions of the Sportline 60 are available, which correlates to a load volume of 5.8 or 6.7 cubic metres respectively. A tailgate is fitted as standard which may be an issue for some operators, particularly if they use fork lifts or need regular access to the cab, although there is one side loading door.

In the cab

The cab isn’t the most spacious although the seats and steering wheel are adjustable and visibility is quite good. Our main criticism of the Transporter is that you must stretch to reach some of the audio controls, while there isn’t an option for steering wheel-mounted controls.

At the centre of the dashboard is the upgraded Kenwood sat-nav infotainment system, which we consider to be one of the better and easier to use systems, and it features smartphone mirroring functionality, DAB and Bluetooth connectivity. The dashboard offers very little in the way of phone and wallet holders.

On the road

The Sportline 60’s athletic appearance gets a sporty engine to match, with the top of the range 2-litre bi-turbo delivering 178bhp and 400Nm of torque. The Sportline 60 inherits the Transporter’s great ride and handling, and with little body, precise steering and effortless gear changes, it’s a great pleasure to drive.

Volkswagen’s remarkably smooth and efficient seven-speed DSG is also available.

Pricing

Retail prices start from £29,940 (ex VAT) for the manual transmission (short wheelbase) and rise to £34,170 (ex VAT) for the DSG transmission installed in a long wheelbase.

All prices as per the time of writing. This model has been replaced by the VW Transporter T6 - which is also available as a Sportline model.