Volkswagen managed to steal a march on the Australian pickup segment by launching the Amarok utility earlier this year, arriving ahead of the updated Hilux, all-new Ranger, the next-gen BT-50 and the new Colorado.
Now, with the competition breathing down its neck, the Amarok is digging deep with a new auto transmission and a more powerful diesel engine for a new 'TDI420' flagship.
For 2012, the Amarok's existing six-speed manual transmission will be complemented by a ZF-developed eight-speed automatic, lifted from the new second-generation Touareg SUV.
The new auto gearbox will be offered with only one engine however: a range-topping version of the existing 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel, delivering 132kW and 420Nm of torque.
In the current Australian-delivered Amarok range, the 2.0 litre diesel produces 120kW and 400Nm of torque.
The new engine also boasts an increased towing capacity, up to 3175kg braked (compared to 2800kg for the current configuration).
“Thanks to this greater spread, the TDI engine works even more effectively in every rev range, and it is more fuel-efficient and agile," Volkswagen said.
"Moreover, eighth-gear (is) configured as a fuel-saving overdrive gear that operates at reduced engine speed. The first gear is configured for pulling away in off-road use or when towing."
In Europe at least, the update adds Volkswagen's BlueMotion technology, including stop/start, regenerative braking and low rolling-resistance tyres - combining to bring fuel consumption down to 7.6 l/100km.
The local Amarok currently offers figures of 7.7 l/100km. Matched to the 4MOTION selectable or permanent 4MOTION all-wheel-drive systems, fuel consumption climbs to just 7.9 l/100km.
Volkswagen's Australian arm has yet to announce specific dates for the new Amarok 'TDI420' flagship.
Speaking with TMR today, Volkswagen Australia spokesperson Karl Gehling confirmed a 2012 local launch.
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