The first, road-biased edition of the Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 W580 has only just begun arriving in showrooms. The first 50 or so cars have already been delivered and about one-third of the vehicles scheduled for this year's production have customer names on them.
Buoyed by this success, Volkswagen Australia is now planning on an off-road version, likely to be released early next year once development work is completed by performance-car partner, the Melbourne-based Walkinshaw Automotive Group, the former parent company of Holden Special Vehicles.
"When we initially discussed this concept with Walkinshaw, we came up with two concepts ... and we decided to go down this (road-focused) path to start with and then introduce an off-road model at a later date," said Volkswagen Australia director of commercial vehicles, Ryan Davies.
"We plan to create a vehicle that's just as special as the W580 is but in an off-road configuration. If it gets the go-ahead we hope to have that model in showrooms in the first quarter of next year (early 2022)."
Price and specifications for the off-road version of the Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 W580 are yet to be revealed, however CarAdvice understands the model will undergo upgrades to the suspension, wheels and tyres, while also picking-up tougher-looking bodywork.
"It will look different and have different modifications than the W580," said Mr Davies. "It will have some of the elements of the W580, but if it's going to stand up as an off-road variant, it's going to have a more rugged look and capability."
The Amarok W580 was made possible after Volkswagen Australia formed a partnership with Melbourne-based Walkinshaw Automotive Group, the former parent company of Holden Special Vehicles, which did the local engineering development.
The Amarok W580 is fitted out on the Melbourne assembly line once used for the HSV Colorado SportsCat (pictured below).
If such a model were to be introduced, the off-road version of the Amarok W580 would be sold alongside the on-road version, rather than replacing it.
"We've had huge interest (in an off-road version), especially from the Queensland Volkswagen dealer network," said Mr Davies. "They want an off-road version, so we know there is demand there."
As with the just-released road-biased version of the Volkswagen Amarok W580, there will be no extra power from the 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 because of the exorbitant cost of a new round of testing for fuel economy and emissions so late in the model cycle.
This generation of the Volkswagen Amarok has about two years left to run before it becomes a twin under the skin to the next generation Ford Ranger.
As it stands, the current Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 W580 already has the most power and torque of any diesel ute in its class, with an output of 200kW on overboost and most of its 580Nm reserve of torque available across much of the rev range.
Paired to an eight-speed auto, the Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 can do the 0-100km/h dash in an as-tested 7.8 seconds, the fastest in the segment and about two seconds quicker than the current crop of diesel double cabs.
Volkswagen Australia says it is too early to disclose any details about the next-generation Amarok which will be based on the next-generation Ford Ranger ute.
However, Mr Davies repeated earlier comments that the vehicle would have "Volkswagen DNA" despite being co-developed with Ford.
Volkswagen Germany has sent more than a dozen engineers and designers to work with Ford in Melbourne on the next generation Amarok, which is due in local showrooms in early 2023.