2023 Volkswagen Amarok R: German performance ute imagined


Move over W580, the time has come for the Volkswagen Amarok R.

Ben Zachariah


The 2023 Volkswagen Amarok was revealed overnight, showing off a stylish and capable new ute from the German car giant.

Given the model is a twin to the Ford Ranger – which has proved capable of supporting the Baja-ready Ranger Raptor – the door is left open for Volkswagen to offer a high-performance Amarok R, replacing the Australian-developed W580 with a more recognisable badge.

Imagined here by Drive’s digital artist Theottle, the Amarok R unashamedly takes the design cues of the wider ‘R’ range, with 21-inch black alloy wheels, black highlights, special badging on the front quarter panel and door, and the brand’s signature ‘Lapiz Blue’ exterior paint.

At the rear of the car, the chrome brightwork is replaced with colour-coded plastics.

Under the bonnet, the Amarok R would theoretically use the Ranger Raptor’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 to deliver 292kW and 583Nm to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.


However, unlike the Ford Ranger Raptor – which is offered as a rugged off-roader – the Volkswagen Amarok R would take the recipe of its sibling models like the Golf R, Tiguan R, and Touareg R and deliver proper on-road performance, despite its dual-cab body.

“The [first-generation] Amarok is already the benchmark in the segment for [on-road dynamics], so why not take it to another level,” Volkswagen Australia’s national marketing and product manager for commercial vehicles Nick Reid told Drive at an event for the W580 in March 2021.

“It’s a point of difference to the bulk of rivals. We’re zigging when everyone else is zagging. When everyone else is going off-road we’re going to hone our performance on-road.”

But at the Amarok’s launch last night, executives remained coy on whether the Raptor’s V6 would ever make it into the Volkswagen, telling media the 2.3-litre turbo (offered in overseas markets) was fast enough.


“I think all of them are sporty,” Volkswagen’s vice president of sales and marketing Lars Krause told attendees.

“This is also tailored to our customers that are totally different – we have on the one hand the craftsman and the typical commercial user. And we have of course [on the other hand] outdoor activists and urban activists – and we offer the best vehicle for each of these customer groups.”

While Ford executives have ruled out offering Volkswagen a version of the Ranger Raptor, it remains to be seen if the German brand invests in a flagship variant of its own design, powered by diesel – and possibly continuing its local partnership with Walkinshaw.

Would you like to see a 2023 Volkswagen Amarok R make it to production? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.

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