The VW Transporter T6 series is unquestionably VW’s greatest feat in the van game so far. But it’s missing the ultimate option from the upgrade list; Revo ECU Software.
A bold claim, which is why we decided to take two BiTDI powered vans and put them head to head. We could say this was fair, but it wasn’t.
The Volkswagen Transporter has established itself as the premium choice in the van world. Whether you’ve chosen the German steed to fill it with tools or to camp out in relative luxury (compared to a tent anyway), there’s one thing you’ll be wanting that isn’t on the eye-watering list of optional extras;
More power, torque, MPG and smoother driving experience.
Revo ECU Software is designed to do much more than drive peak figures up. We’re much more interested in refining your whole driving experience, throughout every gear. This ethos, which is how we approach even the high power vehicles we offer products for is especially important for our van customers. Weight, long drives and towing are all common uses that we have to take into consideration, and it’s about more than straight-line speed (although that’s greatly improved as you’ll see).
It’s really difficult to put into words the difference between stock and Revo power. So, rather than simply telling you we lined up a head-to-head to show you. Yep, two VW T6 DSG Kombi vans, both 2.0 BiTDI 4Motion 204PS models and a mile of clear runway ahead.
Contender 1, wearing the white wrap with red and black trim.
In the white corner, our long wheelbase support mule and sweetheart of the company, which ferried the team to Worthersee earlier in the year. Running Revo ECU software, wrapped to match the Golf R livery, with our VW T6 Big Brake Kit upfront and sporting every factory option on the list – including a night-heater.
We collected this van earlier in the year and what an adventure it has been on since. Its biggest trip arguably the monumental 1000+ mile road trip to Worthersee, Austria, fully laden with show gear. But used for many other trips, dealer visits, shows, photoshoots and all kinds of other ‘stuff’ in-between too.
The van is as fast as it looks too, it doesn’t hang around. It provokes quite a few smiles from people when they’re being ferried around, but there’s only so much fun you can have when confined to UK speed limits. Now, things change a little when you book out a runway. Somewhere with enough space to see what it’s capable of in an unrestricted environment (just like when it travelled on the AutoBahn in Germany).
Contender 2, in Blue with the stock wheels.
What would be the point in thrashing our van down the runway if there was no competition to go up against? Luckily we thought about that too.
Like For Like, kind of.
Firstly Redline’s model is a short wheelbase, so is marginally lighter than our LWB model – advantage to the blue van there. Redline’s is also running factory edition 17” rims, ours is on 20’s so the rolling radius is different.
Essentially though they’re identical specs. Both 4Motion, both sporting the 7-speed DSG transmission.
Crucially the big difference is the ECU software they’re each running. Redline’s is bone stock, not touched from the factory. Ours… well, of course, it’s on the Revo ECU upgrade.
Check out all that torque
Revo Software is available for a huge range of commercial vehicles, but for this head to head, we’re specifically looking at the 204PS base model, VW’s highest power diesel option.
Factory figures quote them at 204PS (201bhp) and 332lbft (450nm). Our software puts a peak of 40PS and 74lbft on top, taking Stage 1 figures to 244ps (241bhp) and 406lbft (550nm).
It’s not all about peak figures
As with all Revo software, peak figures only tell a small part of the story. Regardless of the vehicle type Revo software is never about making HUGE hero figures to impress half a dozen onlookers at your local dyno day.
Of course, making more horsepower and torque is part of what we do, yes, but Revo also offers a whole host of other benefits to improve the vehicle in other ways too. The key with the T6 Transporter software is in improving its drivability.
That ‘Big Dump’
You read right, it’s reasonably well documented that the stock ECU software has a ‘big dump’ of torque in the rev range. Not ideal for ‘everyday’ driving and surely a tactic designed from the factory to make the van feel quicker in daily use than it really is. Great for anyone in denial that it has ‘enough power already’, not so great when you’re committed to an overtake and you’re running out of puff.
As well as increasing power, Revo software makes the power delivery much smoother and much more linear. And, let’s be honest, this is a van for the day to day workhorse duties and weekend work – ferrying the family, carrying cargo, the dogs, bikes and towing amongst other things; not top speed drag runs (well for most anyway).
Red light race mode engaged
So if Revo isn’t about all-out straight-line speed, why do a drag race? We’ve all been sat at a red light when a similar spec van rolls up next to you, well, that’s basically what we’re doing here.
Instead of a set of lights on a public road, however, we secured the use of a runway landing strip. Although these vans are not designed for ‘launching’, and frankly they’re exceptionally sluggish off the line due to the delay in the brake release, the game was on. With two competitive drivers (and that’s an understatement), this was going to be an interesting head to head.
So let’s get to what we’re really here for. A race.
Launch, top speed, rinse, repeat
With 10 runs under our belts in order to collate a fair average result, it was clear the increased figures boasted by Revo ECU software was making a difference to the BiTDI T6.
It has to be said again too that our LWB sporting the software upgrade is heavier than the stock-power SWB version from Redline. Weight makes a difference in any competitive application, so it’s a genuine consideration.
From the moment the vans leave the line the Revo tuned van pulls on the stock version, all the way to a convincing win by the time the vans reach the finish line nearing the end of the straight.
Pretty conclusive (and frustrating for Paul in the stock van no doubt haha). When you consider a 20% power increase isn’t the only advantage of the software it’s a compelling upgrade.
Packed with power, and even more awesome features
Top speed limit removal, smoother power delivery, like for like or even improved MPG depending on driving style all feature too. Literally win-win, no downsides or drawbacks.
It’s a simple upgrade that can be done at your local Revo Authorised Dealer. Following a full health check, if everything is running as it should Revo software is installed via the OBD port, followed up with some data-logging to ensure everything is as it should be. Simple.
The T6 Stats:
|Stock||204 PS||201 BHP||450 NM||332 LBFT|
|Revo||244 PS||241 BHP||550 NM||406 LBFT|
Watch the video for a more detailed account of the test. Thanks again to Redline Campers for providing the other T6. With over 50 years experience selling caravans and motorhomes, Redline Campers specialise in ready-built and made-to-order vans. Head over to their website to check out the Revo Authorised Dealer.
And now for something completely different
If after all of this 241bhp and 550nm isn’t quite enough for you and your VW T6, there is another option of course… (check back soon for the full story on this weapon)