The XNH Volkswagen camper van features a comfortable interior and two galleys
German company ABT is best known as a high-performance tuning company and motorsport sponsor, but is now entering the recreational vehicle market. Volkswagen has transformed the T6.1 into a very attractive pickup truck with an exterior body kit, a four-bed floor plan, and interior and exterior cooking capabilities. Instead of going it alone at the new market, they’ve teamed up with an experienced camper converter to turn a mid-size Volkswagen commercial van into a warm and comfortable camper van.
For years, we’ve been quietly searching for a Volkswagen campervan from ABT. However, the version we were hoping for wasn’t just a mid-size truck, but a camper van based on the all-electric T6.1 e-Transporter ABT developed in collaboration with Volkswagen. It seemed like a natural fit for the ABT e-Transporter to become one of the original electric camper vans in mainland Europe, but with an I.D. Noise on the road, Volkswagen halted production before the wagon version appeared. This is likely for the best since the truck’s WLTP range was 82 miles (132 km), which is well below the NEDC number of 248 miles (400 km) that Volkswagen was advertising during the truck’s 2019 premiere.
Instead of an e-camper, ABT launched the first campervan in its 125-year history on a 209-inch (530 cm) T6.1 wheelbase with a 148-hp diesel engine. It’s called the XNH, short for “Explore New Horizons,” and it’s a fitting moniker for any campervan, though perhaps better for the ABT e-Transporter camper van that never existed.
ABT stays the course, focusing its efforts on the truck’s exterior and electrical system and leaving the interior floor plan to camper van specialist Vaning GmbH. Its body kit includes skirts around the sides, front and rear, a new front grille, and a foil graphics package featuring topographical stripes. Between the skirts, the ABT rides on 18-inch gloss black wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.
We love the overhead graphics, but the real advantage of the XNH is on the other side of the sliding door. The white finish of the scratch-resistant High Pressure Laminate (HPL) furniture bases contrasts with the natural wood drawer faces, surfaces and trim, warming up what could otherwise be a cold and clinical interior in a domestic space. Sheep wool provides natural insulation within the glass panel walls.
The three-seater rear seat slides and flattens to become a 79 x 51 in (200 x 130 cm) double bed and a second 79 x 42 in (201 x 106 cm) bed that lowers from within the pop-up roof sleeper above. The seat also serves as the main seat for the removable interior dining table, with the front passenger seat rotating as a fourth dining area.
The compact XNH becomes a major cooking hub at mealtime thanks to its separate indoor and outdoor cooking zones. Inside, the main galley block behind the driver’s seat includes a two-place induction cooktop, a 45-litre Dometic refrigerator, and a polished stainless steel sink with an oak cutting board cover. There is a 10-litre fresh water tank supplying the sink, and another 10-litre waste tank that picks up water at the other end.
Out under the tailgate, a side-by-side pull-out unit houses a Primus Tupike portable gas stove on the left and a Eurobox-sized storage slide on the right. The included ax mounted inside helps prepare firewood and kindle.
ABT draws on its experience in developing automotive electrical systems to give the XNH more power than the average VW campervan. Its system includes a 1,900-watt Clayton LPS II lithium power station with a 230-volt outlet, a separate 75-amp AGM recreational battery, and a 350-watt roof-mounted solar array. This system powers the aforementioned induction stove and refrigerator, as well as LED lighting and outlets throughout.
the Much. Electrical transformer. Sure it has more design and potential than a Volkswagen California 6.1, but 60,000 euros more?!
ABT seems confident that it is priced reasonably enough to sell a limited run of 500 XNH trucks, which is what it plans to do. It will host the premiere of the new camper van in cooperation with car dealer Autohaus Schweiger at the F.re.e. Leisure and Travel Fair in Munich.