Volkswagen Australia says it's investigating a partnership with Walkinshaw that would deliver a hardcore Amarok to take the fight to the Ford Ranger Raptor, with news out of Europe confirming that any potential flagship ute would have a V6 diesel engine to draw from.
One of the lingering questions over VW and Ford's partnership on the Ranger/Amarok program is whether the latter will give the former access to its lauded Raptor program as part of its joint-development agreement.
If the answer is yes, then a VW-badged version of the Raptor would give the German brand a powerful ute flagship in one of Australia's most competitive segments.
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The brand has confirmed it would have its hand up for a Raptor. But if the answer is no? Well, VW has an answer for that, too.
Volkswagen has already forged a strong alliance with engineering outfit Walkinshaw, with the pair having already collaborated on the W Series "Performance utes".
That story began with the diesel V6-powered W580S, and will continue with the newer, and more off-road-focused, W580X.
That model pairs VW's punchy diesel engine with a host of off-road kit, m including a new 4mm marine-grade aluminium bash plate, an integrated LED light bar, 18-inch forged alloys wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion AT + rubber, and a ton of underbody protection.
And the best part? That could be just the beginning.
Asked whether the Walkinshaw partnership could deliver a true Raptor rival in the next-generation Amarok, VW's Commercial Vehicles Director, Ryan Davies confirmed his team was investigating the opportunities.
"There is opportunity for everything in the pick-up segment," he said. "It's definitely an option. It's what we need to investigate now."
The motivation is clear, with Volkswagen's partnership with Walkinshaw delivering 1000 sales last year, with the brand to target 1500 units in 2022.
In exciting news, we know already know what would power VW's answer to the Ranger Raptor, with the brand's European bosses confirming diesel V6 power will arrive with the new Amarok.
"In terms of drive system, we are continuing to use highly efficient TDI diesel engines for the new Amarok”, Lars Menge, Head of Product Marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said.
“And there will be a powerful V6 TDI available in the future, too, plus further power units specific in each case to the market. In other words, depending on the market the Amarok will be moving forward efficiently and powerfully as a diesel or petrol vehicle”.
While the most think the diesel in question will be lifted from the Ford Ranger –which has also confirmed V6 power - VW is yet to confirm exactly where the engine will come from.
Whether VW can adopt Ford's Raptor, of produce their own with the help of Walkinshaw, it seems a new ute flagship could coon appear.
The new Amarok global launch program will begin at the end of 2022.