Volkswagen Amarok W580X takes aim at Ranger Raptor

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.”

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