The XL is the latest extension of the T@B line, which launched in the US in 2003. The original trailer weighed less than 2,000 lbs and had a starting price of just under $11,000 (€9K), but this 2009 model is a completely different beast.
The form factor originally designed for functionality has now become a style statement: the bloated XL measures just over 22 feet, including drawbar. You don’t actually need the full 7,700 lb towing capacity of a Porsche Cayenne to haul it around, but this particular teardrop is more about image than logic.
One can usually guess the target market of a new RV by looking at the accessories in the press shots. But the cigars and brandy balloons chosen by the stylist for the XL images have got us stumped. T@B calls the interior styling ‘American Way of Life’. And yes, that’s a fair description: it’s American in the sense that Ralph Lauren duty-free stores are American.
There’s obviously some heavy-duty niche marketing going on here. The interior is awash with fine leather and teak wood, and can be optioned with a leather lounger and armchairs. At first glance, you might expect to find Norman Mailer lounging around, or perhaps a hip-hop star sponsored by Hennessy Cognac.
Unfortunately, the reality is likely to be portly German Bürgers slumped in the armchairs, washing down their currywurst with bottles of Krombacher while watching reruns of Derrick on the TV.
Comfort is certainly a priority. The option list includes underfloor heating, an electric “living flame effect” fire, and a city water connection kit with a 12-gallon holding tank. There’s also a Media Package with a 23″ flat-screen TV, a CD-DVD radio with receiver, a sound system and a subwoofer. To primp the exterior you can specify solid wheels, in high-gloss polished alloy, that look like they’ve come straight off a Harley.
There’s no mention of smoke extractors for the cigars, and presumably you’re expected to fit your own fire alarm. But add a chessboard and candles, settle down on a rug, and you could recreate the Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway scene from The Thomas Crown Affair.
There’s plenty of good German engineering under the hood and construction quality is likely to be top-notch. Those looking for extra stability while towing can add an AKS safety coupling, plus an AL-KO trailer control system that prevents snaking during sudden maneuvers. If you need extra stability while stationary, you can add AL-KO Stabilform leveling jacks too.
There’s no word yet on price, or availability outside Europe. But the UK price will be around £35,000, which is $62,000. So we’re talking Airstream money.
Still, that shouldn’t stop it from being a hit with the Bavarian mercantile classes. More stollen, Günther?
Update, 11 October 2008: As widely predicted, Knaus Tabbert has gone bankrupt. Its application for a €12m ($16.2m) bridging loan to see it through the quiet winter months was rejected by banks, and a liquidator has been appointed. The German state of Bavaria is working to secure the company’s future.
Like the idea of German luxury, but in a more conventional form? Check out the Tabbert Paganini.