Volkswagen is exploring a range of locally developed possibilities for the new Amarok, saying the current W-Series ute family has "only scratched the surface" of what's possible in Australia.
While the brand says nothing is yet set in stone, it is yet to rule out a true Walkinshaw developed Ford Ranger Raptor rival, telling CarsGuide that a locality developed fire-breathing off-road ute was still very much a possibility.
"Theoretically, yeah, why not? I think we’ve only just scratched the surface of that (partnership)," said VW Australia's communications chief, Paul Pottinger, when asked whether a Walkinshaw-developed Raptor rival was on the table for the new Amarok.
Read more about the Volkswagen Amarok
We know already that the new Volkswagen Amarok has been designed as a load-lugging powerhouse, with the Ford Ranger sibling to carry up to 1.2 tonnes in its tray - and support heavy loads when off-roading, too. We also know it will be offering a beefy V6 diesel, too, with an image released by VW showing the Amarok's rear tray with a V6 logo stamped on it.
What we don't know is exactly what the partnership with Walkinshaw will deliver this time around. In its current guise, the VW and Walkinshaw tie-up has produced the W580, W580 S and W580 X – the latter adding a 4mm marine-grade aluminium bash plate under the Amarok's nose, a new, integrated LED light bar, 18-inch forged alloys wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion AT + rubber, and a ride that's been re-tuned for more off-road compliance. All offer impressive grunt, with up to 200kW and 580Nm now on offer from the brand's 3.0 litre turbo-diesel V6.
But, says VW Australia, that could be just the beginning, with Walkinshaw expected to be involved with the Amarok project from its launch in Australia this time around.
"We would consider an ongoing collaboration with Walkinshaw highly desirable, and moreover logical. There’s nothing cemented yet, but it’s worked extraordinary well," says Mr Pottinger.
"We’re dealing with a car that, by the time Walkinshaw got hold of it, was more than a decade old, and they still managed to make meaningful enhancements to it.
"Imagine what they can do over the lifespan of a car they’re getting when it's close to a cleanskin."
The Amarok will be revealed in full next month, on July 7, before launching in Australia in the first quarter of 2023.