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Volkswagen ups power stakes with 190kW Amarok V6

More power: The Amarok TDI580 uses an upgraded version of the TDI550's (left) 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine, pumping out 190kW of power and 580Nm of torque.

Mercedes-Benz X350d put on notice by more powerful Volkswagen Amarok TDI580

Volkswagen logo12 Apr 2018

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia has delivered on its promise of a more potent version of the Amarok V6, dubbed TDI580, that is set to join the dual-cab pick-up range in the third quarter this year, while the limited-edition TDI550 Dark Label will be priced from $62,990 before-on-road costs when it hits showrooms imminently.

Aimed squarely at the incoming Mercedes-Benz X350d, the TDI580 employs an upgraded version of the TDI550's 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine, pumping out 190kW of power and 580Nm of torque.

Comparatively, the X350d produces the same peak power but 30Nm less torque, while the TDI550 develops 165kW – or 180kW on overboost – and 550Nm.

Just like its TDI550 sibling, the TDI580 exclusively features a full-time 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission with torque convertor.

Performance figures are yet to be released, but an improvement over the TDI550’s zero-to-100km/h acceleration time of 7.9 seconds is a near certainty.

Unlike the Euro5-compliant TDI550, the TDI580’s tweaked powertrain meets stricter Euro6 standards, meaning improved fuel efficiency and reduced carbon dioxide emissions are also likely.

Speaking to GoAuto, Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of communications Paul Pottinger revealed that the TDI580 will first come to market in flagship Ultimate form.

“(The TDI580 Ultimate) will initially start at a slight premium to the extant (TDI550) Ultimate, but it will also eventually become a (TDI580) Highline,” he said. “It’s part of continual plans to upgrade and expand the Amarok range, particularly the V6 Amarok range.”

The TDI550 Ultimate is currently priced from $68,490, meaning the TDI580 Ultimate is likely to be the first Amarok to break the $70,000 barrier, joining the $74,990 Ford Ranger Raptor among the priciest mid-size pick-ups on offer.

The X350d is yet to be priced but could top $85,000.

When questioned if there were also plans for an entry-level TDI580 Sportline, Mr Pottinger said: “Possibly not that, but currently (TDI550) Sportline is doing very well for us … we’re still looking at what extent that flows through the range.”

He also indicated that TDI580 variants may eventually replace their TDI550 counterparts, “but it’s quite possible there could be two versions” as such a move would be dependent on supply.

According to Volkswagen Group Australia director of commercial vehicles Carlos Santos, the company has upheld its commitment to offer the most potent mid-size pick-up.

“As we’ve promised before, we have no intention of giving up the mantle of the most powerful ute in its class and are looking to offer the upgraded 190kW Amarok V6 later in the year,” he said.

“Amarok continues to be a huge success story for Volkswagen in Australia, winning fans in Birdsville and boardrooms alike.

“Our current V6 Amarok, with 180kW on overboost, is no lightweight, proven by the 1:57 and 2:57 laps around Eastern Creek and Mount Panorama set in our apprentice-built racecar running a standard driveline.”

Sales of the Amarok were strong last year, with 9282 examples sold to the end of 2017, representing a 12.4 per cent increase over the 8261 deliveries made in 2016.

This effort saw the Volkswagen place ninth in overall utility segment last year, trailing the Toyota HiLux (47,093), Ford Ranger (42,728), Mitsubishi Triton (23,605), Holden Colorado (21,579) and Isuzu D-Max (17,717), among others.

However, Amarok sales have taken a hit in 2018, with 1935 vehicles finding homes to the end of March, equating to a 12.9 per cent decrease over the 2221 examples sold during the same period in 2017.

“When we have full supply of (Amarok) V6, sales are heavily skewed towards (Amarok) V6 (over the four-cylinder model). In fact, in some months last year it was as much as 70 per cent (Amarok) V6,” Mr Pottinger added.

Meanwhile, he also confirmed that the TDI550 Dark Label will go on sale in a matter of weeks, with it to command a $2500 premium over the TDI550 Highline variant upon which it is based.

Revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show alongside the Aventura Exclusive concept that previewed the TDI580, the TDI550 Dark Label ushers in several cosmetic enhancements.

Black side steps, a matte-black sports bar, lacquered-chrome front grille louvres, matte-black doorhandles, Dark Label badging and anthracite 18-inch Rawson alloy wheels round out the exterior upgrades.

Five exterior paint colours are on offer, including no-cost Candy White. Indium Grey and Reflex Silver metallics, and Deep Black pearl attract a $590 charge, while a matte version of Indium Grey is available for $4040.

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