New 204hp VW Transporter Sportline gets GTI-style makeover for the first time

  • New T6.1 Sportline looks incredible and comes loaded with kit
  • 204hp engine means 126mph top speed, 0-62mph in 8.9sec
  • Black Edition upgrades it further with factory-fitted coilover suspension

A new Sportline model has joined the latest VW Transporter 6.1 range – and for the first time, Volkswagen has given its sportiest van a real GTI-style makeover, complete with red grille stripe and ultra-aggressive front bumper design to go with the 204hp engine. What's more, it comes with some very fancy kit.

The T6.1 Sportline is the top-of-the-range Transporter model, and it comes in two versions: regular Sportline and Sportline Black Edition. Short- and long-wheelbase models are available, as are both panel vans and Kombi vans, the latter coming with a second row of seating making them ideal as lifestyle family vehicles.

What’s new for the T6.1 Sportline?

There have been Transporter Sportline models before – but never have we seen one that take on VW’s GTI styling cues quite so directly. The major feature of this is the red stripe in the grille, which really ties the van into Volkswagen’s sportiest car styling.

Together with the gaping air vents in the front bumper, 18-inch alloy wheels and ‘eye-catching’ new rear spoiler – so eye-catching, it might literally poke your eye out, look at the size of it! – the latest Transporter Sportline really looks the business.

Finishing visual touches include illuminated(!) side bars and suspension lowered by a substantial 30mm, both helping to give the van a proper road-hugging stance. Though you should note the disclaimer on the images before your drooling gets out of control – the real thing may not look quite that aggressive, even in Black Edition spec (on which more below).

2021 VW Transporter 6.1 Sportline - rear view, render with disclaimer, grey

A selection of metallic paint colours will also be offered to help it stand out even more: Indium Grey, Fortana Red, Ravenna Blue and Copper Bronze. On this inside, lucky buyers will get Nappa leather and suede trim with honeycomb stitching and Sportline branding.

If we didn’t know better, we’d think VW was going after the Transit Custom MS-RT here, and hard.

Sportline Black Edition takes things even further

The pictures we have actually represent the Black Edition version, which takes things to an incredible level for a factory-built van.

Not only do you get an exclusive alloy wheel colour (not yet specified) and matt black treatment for the side bars, VW is even fitting Eibach coilover suspension in place of the standard Sportline set-up. This is usually the sort of thing you only see on aftermarket modified vans.

Black Edition decals, 90% rear window tint on Kombi models (very gangsta) and a Sportline gift box complete this particular package. We’re practically looking for a bank to hold up already…

Digital cockpit comes to the Transporter van for the first time

As you’d expect, there is loads of standard kit on the Sportline as well. Highlight feature has to be the digital cockpit, a digital instrument cluster that’s only previously been available on the Caravelle.

You also get DAB radio, air-con, heated windscreen, Discover Media sat-nav; Black Edition models get Discover Media Pro, which comes with a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen.

LED headlights are standard, alongside front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and an alarm system.

It’s fast

Finally, there’s plenty of go to back up the show, as the top-spec 204hp 2.0-litre TDI engine and seven-speed DSG transmission is fitted as standard on all Sportline models.

This means 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds (in a factory-built van!) and a top speed of 126mph.

How much is the Transporter Sportline?

The new T6.1 Sportline costs from £42,940 in regular guise and £45,140 as a Black Edition. Kombi models start at £46,450 or £49,450.

You can only get the LWB version as a standard Sportline, but this comes in panel van and Kombi spec, priced from £43,795 and £47,305.

All prices excluding VAT and on-the-road (OTR) costs.

Also read:

>> Our main VW Transporter review

>> Ford Transit Custom MS-RT review