Volkswagen Australia has introduced a new entry-level variant into its Amarok V6 TDI550 range, with the Sportline kicking off the three-tier line-up from $55,490 before on-road costs.
Undercutting the mid-spec Highline ($59,990) and flagship Ultimate ($67,990), the Sportline dual-cab ute lowers the range-opening cost by $4500.
It is powered by the same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine as the two existing variants, meaning 165kW of power and 550Nm of torque are on tap.
The sprint from zero to 100km/h takes only 7.9 seconds thanks to an overboost function that produces up to 180kW of punch in specific contexts.
Fuel consumption is rated at 9.0 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle test.
A permanent four-wheel-drive (4WD) system sends power to the ground via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Alternatively, a six-speed manual version of the Sportline will arrive locally next year with part-time 4WD and a low-range transfer case.
Similar to the Amarok, the X-Class employs a mix of turbo-diesel four-cylinder and V6 powerplants.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch 'Manaus' alloy wheels, disc brakes for all four corners, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, 6.33-inch touchscreen multimedia system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, four 12-volt USB sockets, tinted rear windows and a mechanical diff-lock.
The introduction of the Sportline comes hot on the heels of Mercedes-Benz's announcement that the first-ever X-Class pick-up range will start arriving locally early next year.
Similar to the Amarok, the X-Class employs a mix of turbo-diesel four-cylinder and V6 powerplants, with the spicier X350d to pack class-leading 190kW/550Nm outputs when it lobs later in 2018.
The X-Class shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan, while the Amarok rides on a bespoke in-house platform.
However, the X-Class shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan, while the Amarok rides on a bespoke in-house platform.
As part of the Sportline's introduction, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles director Carlos Santos directed a subtle jab towards the newest Mercedes-Benz model.
"Amarok V6's technology derives wholly from within the Volkswagen Group. We have not had to look to Japan for a donor vehicle," he said.
"Amarok remains the only V6 turbo-diesel ute on the market, a space it alone will occupy for some time to come."
Australia is the Amarok's largest export market in the world, with Volkswagen selling 4714 local examples – 2WD and 4WD models combined – to the end of June this year, which represents a 3.2 per cent decrease over the same period in 2016.
Comparatively, the Toyota HiLux (23,378) and Ford Ranger (21,638) lead the pick-up sales race through the first six months of 2017.
Volkswagen has also revealed the AdBlue system inside Amaroks has been discontinued due to low global demand, but all variants remain compliant with Euro 5 emissions standards.
AdBlue is a biodegradable, water-based additive that helps to reduce a diesel engine's nitrogen oxide emissions.
Will the Volkswagen Amarok be able to hold its own against the incoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class? Tell us what you think in the comments below.