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New engine under consideration for VW Amarok in South Africa

VW has announced that a new engine is currently under consideration for the second-generation Amarok, and that this one would use petrol rather than diesel.

The Amarok officially went on sale in South Africa in March this year with four turbo-diesel engines, but the Wolfsburg-based carmaker is already considering the introduction of another powertrain to capitalize on the market and provide greater variety to its customer base, according to IOL.

Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) product marketing specialist Ryan Gillingham said that the company is thinking of adding the 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol plant to its bakkie line-up – the same engine that is used by many of Ford’s vehicles in select markets overseas.

What you need to know

It comes as little surprise to learn that the next-gen Amarok would use another Ford Ranger engine, as the two automakers are in a partnership and their two headline bakkies are currently produced in the same factory right here in South Africa at the Blue Oval’s Silverton Plant in Pretoria.

Neither the standard Ranger nor the Amarok are currently offered with a petrol powertrain, though Ford’s 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol system is scheduled to appear in South Africa in late 2024.

However, we will not be getting the Ranger’s 2.3-litre plant in its pure form, as it will be part of the bakkie’s first-ever plug-in hybrid system and will also be built in Silverton following a R5.2 billion investment from Ford.

VW, on the other hand, has given no indication thus far that it will be making a hybrid, so the Amarok should end up featuring a 2.3-litre turbo-petrol unit with 222kW and 452Nm, which should connect to a 10-speed automatic gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel-drive system similar to other models in the series.

Petrol engines are certainly rare in South Africa where diesel is the go-to source of combustion, as there are only nine petrol-powered double cabs on the market right now.

Most of these fall towards the premium end of the price spectrum, with examples being the 4.0-litre V6 Toyota Hilux, the 3.6-litre Jeep Gladiator, the 3.0-litre Ineos Quartermaster, and the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 Ford Ranger Raptor.

The Raptor is the most natural comparison due to the aforementioned ties between VW and Ford, and while the Amarok’s 2.3-litre single-turbo drivetrain won’t match the V6’s performance, it’s clearly targeting the same niche demographic of people looking for the greater power-to-torque ratio that petrol provides.

2023 Ford Ranger Raptor – The only bakkie in the Ford/VW partnership to currently feature a petrol engine in South Africa.

Of course, the main downside of petrol’s greater performance is its increased consumption as the 2.3l plant averages 9.9l/100km compared to the Ranger and Amarok V6 diesel’s 8.4l/100km.

Then again, at the price point these bakkies retail for, fuel consumption and running costs are clearly not as big a concern for their owners as they would be for others.

VW has obviously not provided any pricing for this would-be Amarok since it’s still in the conceptual stage.

But, considering that the 2.3l engine is found on top-end Rangers like the Wildtrak, it is safe to assume that the same will be done for the Amarok’s PanAmericana and Aventura flagships, putting its speculative price somewhere around the R1-million mark.

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