Volkswagen wants to turn into a T-Rex and go Raptor hunting.
Having established a partnership with Walkinshaw Automotive Group (WAG) to upgrade its Amarok V6 into the ‘GT-spec’ W580, the two parties are now planning a more rugged, off-road capable variant to go after the Ford Ranger Raptor directly.
While the car is still a work-in-progress the intention is clear, with VW insiders saying they’d love to call the new model the ‘T-Rex’ “because it’s the only thing that eats a Raptor.”
Don’t expect that name to make it through final approval but the WAG team is working to take the knowledge gained on both the Amarok W580 and the HSV SportsCat programs to create something capable of matching the widely-praised Ranger Raptor.
Details are still scarce, with the W580 only just entering production, this second joint-venture between VW Australia Commercial Vehicles and WAG is not expected to arrive until 2022. What we can likely expect is a continuation of the same techniques used on the W580.
That means the powertrain is likely to go untouched, with the 190kW/580Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel a point of pride for VW, and instead WAG will focus on the looks and the ride and handling package. That’s likely to include a re-tuned suspension set-up and a new wheel a tyre package.
VW Australia confirmed the program and said it was designed to appeal to those who want a more-capable off-road ute straight from the showroom. It’s expected to be an even more limited prospect than the W580, with the GT ute tipped to hit approximately 2000 units while WAG will only build roughly 500 off-road versions.