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222 kW Amarok to add fuel to the bakkie bragging rights fire

The heat is about to be turned way up in the bakkie battle for bragging rights when VW’s TSI452 Amarok arrives later this year.

Running a 222 kW / 452 Nm high performance, turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder mill, straight out of Ford’s Mustang, down to all four-wheels through a fast shifting 10-speed auto box, this double cab bakkie is set to haul.

Volkswagen ruled the roost for many years with their original 3.0-V6 turbodiesel Amarok that produced 165 kW and 550 Nm and hit 100 km/h in an unheard time of 8.67 seconds. Prior to this, a fast bakkie was something like Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder Ranger Wildtrak that trundled across the line in over 12 seconds.

ALSO READ: Is VW Amarok better off by getting into bed with Ford Ranger?

Amarok raises bar

Then Mercedes-Benz threw their X-Class 350d into the mix with a 190 kW / 550 Nm, 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, but it didn’t have enough to get around the Amarok with a time of 9.43 seconds.

Despite this, VW decided to sort this out in no uncertain terms and bumped up the power and torque on their 3.0-litre V6 Amarok to 190 kW and 580 Nm, and just like before, they went top of the time sheets with a run of 8.14 seconds. There were a bunch of hot hatches and other fast machinery that could not keep up with this fully fledged double cab, but then in 2023, the world of VW bakkies changed dramatically.

The current generation VW Amarok shares a platform with the new Ford Ranger. And it runs Ford powertrains, which means the best on offer is a 184 kW / 600 Nm, 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. Ford’s new Ranger Wildtrak was first down the strip and The Citizen Motoring‘s test equipment returned a time of 9.29 seconds, and this left the old Amarok still at the top, but it also meant that the new Amarok was not going to go quicker than it did when powered by its own powertrains. And it didn’t.

ALSO READ: VW Amarok pips V6 Ford Ranger to sibling rivalry bragging rights

New generation slower

The best the new-generation Amarok with big 21-inch tyres could do was 9.36 seconds while the 18-inch tyre derivative got there in 9.13 seconds. On paper the 184 kW and 600 Nm should have been enough to go top, but the devil was in the details. The change to Ford DNA also brought a massive gain of just over 400 kg in overall vehicle weight to the VW, and a similar amount of power with an extra torque was never going to overcome this issue.

This should have remained the status quo for years to come. It would have seemed that 180 to 190 kW of turbodiesel power is more than enough by the motor manufacturers for a double cab bakkie. But then Ford decided to bury the competition once and for all and launched the beastly 292 kW / 583 Nm, 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo Ranger Raptor. Suddenly, the new number to beat is 6.90 seconds, and there is no way anything is going to come close to this.

But now with this new turbo petrol Amarok TSI452, my guess is that it is going to just pip its old turbodiesel self. And break into the 8s to show that this bakkie power war is far from over.

ALSO READ: Ford Ranger Raptor proves itself as a proper Golf GTI killer

Fastest double cabs