Volkswagen is set to shake up the ute market with a high-performance model ready for off-road action.
Having built a tough-looking truck optimised for tarmac use in the GT-inspired Amarok W580S, Volkswagen and its Walkinshaw tuning partner are set to release a more rugged variant in the W580X.
Aimed at range-topping machines such as the Ford Ranger Raptor and Nissan Navara Warrior, the Amarok W580X benefits from significant suspension and hardware changes to increase its off-road potential.
Lifted suspension, underbody armour, bash plates and rock sliders will join an optional snorkel on a long list of changes to the machine.
New 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tyres and wheel arch extensions help differentiate the W580X from its road-focused cousin.
The machines will have other features in common, including a bumper, grille and stickers that separate them from regular Amaroks.
As with the W580S, the off-road model has the same twin-turbocharged V6 diesel engine as cheaper versions of the Amarok.
Emissions and homologation laws make it prohibitively expensive for VW to extract more power from the 3.0-litre engine for relatively niche models, though you could hardly accuse the 190kW/580Nm motor of lacking grunt or refinement.
The same goes for an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission fitted as standard.
Set to reach showrooms in April next year, the 580X is likely to cost more than $80,000 on the road.
VW spokesman Nick Reid says the new model will be offered in limited numbers.
“We know the Amarok is among the best off-roaders around in standard form,” Mr Reid says.
“But with Walkinshaw giving it a unique tune, we’ll be able to offer something unbeatable to Australian customers.”