VW Amarok V6 190 kW

Now pushing 200 kW, the big Amarok TDI V6 is the performance bakkie king

A few months ago, the King of Bakkies was under threat. Alas, its worthy rival died young. Now, right on cue to celebrate its undisputed crown, Volkswagen has upped the V6 model’s output to 190 kW. Actually, make that 200 kilowatts. Just to be sure.

The 3-litre V6 TDI gains 25 kW from 165 and 30 Nm from 550 to deliver those 190kW from 3 000 to 4 500 rpm and 580 Nm from 1 400 to 2 750 rpm. But that’s not all — an overboost function allows the turbodiesel to deliver 200 kW for 10 seconds at full throttle too.

Packing an eight-speed auto box with all-wheel drive, VW says Amarok V6 now rushes to 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds and on to a 207 km/h top end as it sips a slightly heavier average of 9.5 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres. But it proved half a second quicker than that in our tests. Never mind significantly more effective in overtaking and in the upper end of the envelope. We always appreciate a bit of circumspection on the carmaker’s part. Makes for sleepers. And this is one.


While it was never quite unique, nor groundbreaking, we heralded the arrival of the big diesel V6 Amarok as a major bakkie step forward a couple of years ago. Petrol V6 bakkies were once dime a dozen and some makers still persist with thirsty petrol examples – like Toyota’s 4-litre Hilux. Turbodiesel V6s are nothing new either. Nissan had a 170 kW 550 Nm Navara in 2010. And the Mercedes X350d hardly lasted a year before being canned.

Now the undisputed King of Bakkies, this Amarok is also the last of the Argentinean Amaroks before production shifts to Pretoria alongside Ranger in a new generation shared platform. How that bakkie will differ from the Ford remains a moot point. But for now there’s this…

Not quite the quickest standard pick-up we’ve ever tested, this Amarok is without double the quickest conventional double cab to thunder down our strip, which is kudos indeed in the bakkie world. It performs brilliantly end to end and is mostly a pleasure to drive in any environment.


It may be long in the tooth a decade down the line, but the butch and angular Amarok still looks the part. Our test unit packed an underwhelming spec — no bull bars, nudge bars or running boards. And you even need to stick the key in and twist it to start this one. But it had cool big diameter silver mags and the harvest time farmers kicking those still adequate profile tyres. They’re looking forward to the prospect of a single or even king cab return…

Step aboard and its sober and smart. Comfy leathery pews and multi-function steering wheel backed by voice controlled Radio Composition Media with App-Connect and an auto dimming rear-view mirror. The top Amarok is a better bakkie to live with than most from a tech point of view. But that ten year old cabin is now decidedly last season compared to its latest Japanese rivals – and way off compared to the albeit extinct Merc.

And while it’s quiet and sophisticated, its also stiff, mute, while some of those old finishes now seem a tad cheap. Our tester also seemed hard and harsh on the road — as if the tyres were way overinflated and it was worse off the beaten track. It also seems a bit detached with little steering, brakes or throttle feedback and that V6 sounds flatter than we’d expect. Mostly all penalties of its age.


But it’s that performance that really stands this bakkie apart. We’ve never tested a diesel double cab to 100km/h quicker than a lazy nine and a half seconds. Including that hallowed trio of Arctic, Gazoo and Raptor. This Volkswagen V6 did it in seven and a bit And it’s quick everywhere else too, to make it something of a sport ute substitute with a bak on the back.

Blessed with permanent all-wheel drive, VW has always promised — and gone to the ends of the earth to prove that that this Amarok V6 does not need a low range. Thanks to its widespread eight autobox cogs and all that grunt. They may have a point — it’s most effective off-road, doing what expect from a double cab 4×4 as well as the rest. Even if you’d be far happier thrashing about the Nurburgring on that sportscar rubber than actually taking it into the mud and rocks.

So yes, this latest, powered-up Volkswagen Amarok V6 even further cements its bakkie performance crown. And judging by the number of these already on the road, it seems this is the bakkie to have if you want to be king… – Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 190kW 
             Highline 4Motion
Engine: 190 kW (200 kW) 580 Nm 3-litre Turbodiesel V6
Drive: 8-speed automatic AWD
Payload:          867 kg
Braked Towing:    3300 kg
0-60 km/h:        3.44 sec
0-100 km/h:       7.21 sec
0-120 km/h:       9.79 sec
0-160 km/h:       17.30 sec
400m:             15.1 sec @ 151 km/h
80-120km/h:       4.70 sec
120-160km/h:      7.50 sec
VMax:             207 km/h
Fuel:             9.5 l/100km
CO2:              250 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/5y 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R921K
RATED:            8

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