The new power and torque leader in Australia’s booming 4x4 dual-cab ute class sports a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 with 165kW and 580Nm, outstripping the Ranger, Hilux, Colorado and co, though its expected limited towing capacity of 3.0-tonnes (braked) due to our hot climate is half-a-tonne shy of those bigger sellers.
An overboost function that kicks in past 70 per cent accelerator extension will up the ante, briefly increasing power to 180kW and torque to 580Nm. At this peak, it offers 48kW/150Nm more than the current 2.0-litre Amarok.
Optimal timing for the V6’s overboost function is 3rd or 4th gear from 50km/h, with a span of 10 seconds at a time, broken up by five-second cool-offs.
Thus, the Amarok V6 is capable of completing the 0-100km/h sprint in only 7.9 seconds and accelerating from 80-120km/h (clearly not in most of Australia given our speed limits) in 5.5sec. It’s also hauled in by all-round disc brakes.
The V6 engine will come standard with VW’s 4Motion permanent AWD system, meaning no low range, but there is an off-road mode and rear diff lock standard. All versions sold here will sport an eight-speed auto. The European six-speed manual won’t be offered.
“The Amarok V6 is not an over-hyped concept or a badge engineering exercise,” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles director Carlos Santos claims.
“It’s real, it’s almost here and it brings the world’s best V6 turbo diesel, the same unit used by Porsche and Audi in luxury SUVs.”
Full Australian pricing and specs will be announced soon, though we can hazard some guesses. All Highline and Ultimate 4x4 dual cab models will ditch the current 2.0-litre engine (132kW/420Nm maximum), while lower grades such as the Core will retain it.
We can reasonably expect the Volkswagen Amarok Highline V6 dual cab to cost about $60,000, and the Ultimate to cost about $65,000, close to the top-selling $61,790 Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Counting against the Amarok will be its lack of rear airbags, plus much of the Ford’s active safety technology such as radar cruise, as well as the aforementioned towing capacity. The Amarok V6 will, however, get a nice head start against the 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute previewed yesterday.
Dual cab 4x4 ute sales are booming in Australia this year, up 11 per cent to more than 110,000 units (making it the third-biggest segment behind small cars and medium SUVs).
The Amarok has managed just shy of 6000 units, giving it 5.4 per cent market share, compared to the 20 per cent shares enjoyed by the dominant Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger. Clearly, VW will look to growth armed with the V6 in 2017.