Volkswagen has been in news for all the wrong reasons this year, but with the Australia launch of the V6 diesel Amarok, it's hoping the "ute"-loving Aussies (ute being Australian for utility) will forget all about dodgy emission tests and flock to showrooms.
According to Motoring, while the current four-cylinder diesel Amarok has been strong on paper since its launch in 2011, the new V6 model ups the ante significantly.
The six-cylinder engine is the same as that found in the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and performance diesel vehicles like the Audi SQ5. In the Amarok-specific tune, it offers 165kW and 550Nm outputs – more than any other utility currently on sale.
In fact, only the discontinued D40 Nissan Navara ST-X 550 comes close, with 170kW and 550Nm, though the Amarok stretches to 180kW courtesy an overboost function that comes on for up to 10 seconds at a time when the accelerator is depressed more than 70 percent, Motoring reports.
CarGuide's Joshua Dowling writes that the TDV6 Amarok also packs some speed and "can do the 0 to 100km/h dash faster than most regular cars [VW claims 7.9 seconds] and is considerably quicker than its Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger rivals".
The Amarok is VW's second most popular model in Australia after the Golf hatch and the company says it has more than 7,000 "hot leads" from prospective buyers wanting to take the TDV6 for a test drive — more than any other model launch in its history.
Indeed, according to CarGuide, Australia is the biggest export market for the Amarok (the four-cylinder variants will continue to be sourced from Argentina while the TDV6 is built in Germany).
The updated Amarok comes loaded with technology, including Apple Car Play, Android Auto and digital radio, while the top-of-the-range has a 12-way electrically adjustable driver's seat that has been approved by Germany's spinal health experts, LED "puddle lamps" hidden in the side steps, and ultra-bright Xenon headlights.
There is only one downside to all the extra power, according to news.com.au, "the flagship model with the works costs more than $70,000. And if you dare to take it off-road, all-terrain tyres are an extra-cost option".
VW Amarok TDV6
PRICE From $59,990 to $67,990 plus on-road costs
ENGINE 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel, 165kW/550Nm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto; AWD
MILEAGE 7.9L/100km (claimed)
0-100KM/H 7.9 secs (claimed)
TECH Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Digital Radio, heated seats, 12-way electric adjustment in the driver's seat.