What is it?
This top-of-the-range version of the Volkswagen Touareg might just be the stealthiest full-sized SUV you can buy right now.
VW introduced the car’s Black Edition trim line earlier this year, which is intended as a ‘designer’ extension of the R-Line version of the car that was already available. It adds 21in alloy wheels (which can, of course, be had in black) and includes black trim (where there might otherwise be chrome, grey or body-coloured bits) for the roof rails, rear diffuser, door mirror caps, side window surrounds, door trims, front grille louvres, air intakes and headlight garnishes.
You can have black paintwork for the car as well, needless to say, and if you do - as our particular test car demonstrated - you’ll end up with a car that’s really very black indeed. It’s an irony not lost on this tester that VW used this car in a TV advertising campaign earlier this year whose focus was active safety; and then went and made it available in so stealthy an outward specification that it might actually be totally invisible after dark from certain angles.
Black Edition cars come with the same choice of engines as any other Touareg. There’s a 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel in either 228bhp or 282bhp tune (our test car being the latter) as well as a 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged petrol with 335bhp. The plug-in hybrid-powered Touareg R will make that line-up’s number swell to four when it goes on sale in the UK next year.
Black Edition cars also get adaptively damped, height-adjustable, self-levelling air suspension as standard and all Touaregs come with centre-diff-based permanent four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. VW also throws in LED matrix active headlights, a panoramic sunroof, four-zone climate control and ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery for no extra cost and a network of 360deg parking cameras with one of those plan view modes that makes it feel a bit like you’re having an out-of-body experience when reversing into a space outside Screwfix.
There’s still plenty of optional kit you can have, too, though; enough to pump up the price of our particular test car to more than £70,000 - which, believe it or not, still left one or two things off a fully loaded equipment tally. From massage seats to a 90-litre fuel tank, and four-wheel steering to active anti-roll bars, there are very few upgrades that any other luxury 4x4 might offer that you can’t have on this Touareg. You can just imagine the glint in the VW programme director’s eye when he told his team: “If you can get it on a Bentley Bentayga or a Porsche Cayenne, meine Kollegen, we’re having it as well. Because Fau Vee.”
Our test car had the Dynaudio stereo, head-up display, night vision cameras and four-wheel steering but not the active roll-cancellation system.