Volkswagen is strengthening its ties with the enthusiast community by releasing a series of production car-based concepts over the course of 2021. After unveiling the nostalgia-soaked Jetta GLI Blue Lagoon, it presented a Tiguan called Black RiNo that’s dropped to within a few inches of the ground.
Well-known builder Jamie Orr helped the German firm turn its popular crossover into something that would look right at home at the SEMA show. After installing a height-adjustable coilover suspension system provided by Solo-Werks, he fitted bigger brake rotors and six-piston front calipers sourced from Forge Motorsport and replaced the factory wheels with 20-inch Rotiform units. The result is a much lower Tiguan whose wheel arches are almost fully filled.
And yet, RiNo sounds like rhinoceros, which tend to live in parts of the world where you’d want more ground clearance, not less. What gives? Shake the safari thoughts out of your head; Volkswagen explained RiNo stands for the hip River North arts district in downtown Denver, Colorado, which is full of breweries and galleries. If you want to go off the pavement, whether it’s to see a rhino or to lose cell reception for a few hours, the RiNo is decked out with a hitch-mounted Thule rack and a Alpine Trail 2 carbon fiber mountain bike from California-based Marin Bikes.
Orr added a front splitter, aluminum side steps, and two additional spoilers out back, but he made no major mechanical modifications. Power still comes from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. It exhales through a custom-made exhaust system built with Borla parts.
Accessories such as an on-board air compressor and an LED light bar turn the Tiguan’s trunk into a bicycle repair shop. Volkswagen noted Orr installed a Black Forest Industries shift knob, but photos were not released.
Like the Jetta GLI Blue Lagoon, the Tiguan Black RiNo is a concept built to display at enthusiast events across the nation. It will not be added to the Volkswagen range, though many of the parts used to build it are readily available.