The long-anticipated Volkswagen Amarok V6 has arrived in Australia, giving the German brand’s local arm a serious point of difference in the intensely-fought 4x4 ute market.

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As expected, the Amarok V6 will come only in range-topping Highline ($59,990 plus on-road costs) and Ultimate guises ($67,990), which are $3000 and $4000 more than the superseded four-cylinder versions respectively.

The six-pot Amarok models will compete with other so-called lifestyle utes such as the massively popular Ford Ranger Wildtrak ($61,790), as well as the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

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The new power and torque leader in Australia’s 4x4 ute class sports a 90-degree 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 based on the mill used in the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.

It produces 165kW between 2500 and 4500rpm, and 580Nm from 1500 to 2500rpm — though its pared-back braked towing capacity of 3.0 tonnes with 300kg towball load limit due to our hot climate is 500kg shy of the Ranger, HiLux, D-Max and most others. If you fit the VW wiring kit, you get active trailer sway control built into the ESC.

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The payloads are 911kg an 864kg respectively, which is short of the 1000kg offered by the Amarok Core, though the V6 is not really pitched as a workhorse per se. The gross combined vehicle mass is 6000kg. Underneath is a front double-wishbone setup, while at the rear is the class-standard (excluding the Nissan Navara) rigid axle with leaf springs.

The Amarok also has an overboost function that kicks in past 70 per cent accelerator extension which 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, though claimed combined-cycle fuel use of 8.6L/100km is only 0.3L/100km inferior.

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Optimal timing for the V6’s overboost function is third or fourth 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 in 5.5sec. It’s also hauled in by all-round ventilated disc brakes.

The V6 engine will come standard with VW’s 4Motion 40:60 front:rear permanent AWD system, meaning no low range, but there is an off-road mode, hill-descent control and rear Torsen diff lock standard. All versions sold here will sport an eight-speed auto, with the six-speed manual due in Q4, 2017.

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Volkswagen claims you can scale 100 per cent inclines (slope angles of 45 degrees) with a full load. Approach and departure angles are 29-degrees front and 24-degrees rear, and maximum wading depth sans snorkel is 500mm.

The changes to the V6 Amarok are not just mechanical. The interior has been given an overhaul as part of this mid-life update as well, though it still lacks airbags in the rear unlike most rivals, and also the Ranger Wildtrak’s advanced active safety features such as radar cruise and blind-spot monitoring.

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The Amarok V6 (which launches with more than 5000 'hot leads') is step-one in the MY17 Amarok rollout.

Around March next year, the updated four-cylinder range arrives, around June the range-topping Aventura arrives priced north of $70,000 RRP, and in Q4 the V6 manual lobs for performance enthusiasts.

Volkswagen Amarok V6 Pricing

Amarok V6 Highline - $59,990

Amarok V6 Ultimate - $67,990

Options and Accessories

Metallic/Pearl Effect paint - $590

Vienna Leather upholstery (includes front heated seats) - $2690

Alcantara upholstery (includes front heated seats) - $1890

20-inch ‘Talca’ alloy wheels (set of 5) - $990

Volkswagen Amarok V6 key specifications

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ISOFIX

Multi-collision brake

Front/rear parking sensors

Reversing camera

Dusk-sensing headlights

Rain-sensing wipers

Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRL

Stainless steel side steps

18-inch alloys (255/60 tyres)

Dual-zone climate control

Cruise control

6.3-inch touchscreen with sat-nav

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Digital radio

Cloth seats

Ultimate key extras

Illuminated side steps

19-inch alloys (255/55 tyres)

Colour multi-function display digital driver’s information screen

Aluminium pedals

Mats

Paddle shifters

Leather seats, driver gets ErgoComfort with 14-way adjustment and heating