The Amarok America wish it had

If high-end German tuning and off-road pickup trucks are you thing, you’ll be head-over-heels for this one-off Volkswagen. Produced by aftermarket tuning firm MTM with help from DIRKS, this VW Amarok is no ordinary VeeDub. In fact, nearly every aspect of the truck is updated, including its powertrain. No more wimpy four-cylinder – this thing rocks a V-8 turbodiesel with 685 pound-feet of torque.

Of course, the project started with a conventional Amarok pickup. The midsize offering is certainly popular, though it has never been anything of a performance machine. What’s more, its appearance is typical VW – sterile and clean, yet minimalistically stylish. The interior is spartan, even in range-topping trim levels. MTM addresses all those concerns, making the V8 Desert Edition something truly bespoke.

MTM is very proud of this up-fit, however, at least in terms of pricing. The custom tuner is asking a whopping 199,143.92 Euro for it, or roughly $219,000. That’s an insane price for any midsize truck, regardless of modifications. Nevertheless, The V8 Desert Edition debuted at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in a room full of supercars and high-end luxury sedans.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Amarok V8 Desert Edition by MTM.

Exterior

The Amarok is a handsome truck to begin with, but MTM took things the extra mile. Both the upper and lower grilles now sport a black theme with the lower grille using a bespoke mesh insert. Providing protection is a tubular brush guard and underbody skid plates. Around the sides, enlarged fender flairs keep rocks and mud off the matt orange paint. Side running boards ease the jump into the cabin.

Around back, MTM took VW’s idea of a roll bar and expanded it with this enlarged unit. It not only looks tougher, but probably is. Matching the blacked-out front grilles and fender flairs, the rear bumper is matt black, as are the VW logos and door handles.

The truck rides on 20-inch BBS wheels that are wrapped in mildly aggressive Cooper Zeon LT2 all-terrain tires.

Interior

MTM didn’t just modify the Amarok’s exterior. The interior has been coated in Alcantara. But not just the seats or steering wheel – no, nearly every inch that isn’t a screen, button, or air vent is wrapped in the suede material. It might not be the most tasteful addition, but someone though it would be a great idea. We’re just hoping it looks better in person.

Of course, the seats were’ immune to the sea of suede. They get a diamond-pattern stitched into the center sections, while the bolsters are smooth. The diamond patter extends to the center console lid and door panels. Flat-orange stitching holds everything together.

Not everything is strictly for aesthetics. MTM added a bank of three gauges atop the dashboard that keep tabs on different vehicle parameters.

Drivetrain

The biggest change resides in the engine bay. Gone is the ho-hum engine equipped from the factory – replaced with a 4.2-liter, twin-turbocharged diesel V-8. The Audi-sourced TDi kicks out an impressive 410 horsepower and 686 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. What’s more, the engine sends its rumbling exhaust through side pipes that dump just ahead of the rear wheels. All that power helps push the Amarok to 62 mph in six seconds and onto a top speed of 150 mph. That’s certainly impressive for a pickup.

Keeping the Amarok planted is MTM’s sport-tune coil-over front suspension and air ride suspension out back. Performance brakes with drilled rotors brings things to a stop for effectively. While pickup trucks aren’t typically oriented toward performance, it’s clear that’s what MTM had in mind. The Amarok V8 Desert Edition looks to be a truly dual-purpose toy.

Prices

These modifications, especially the mechanical and exterior ones, are very appealing. The insane amount of power, the upgraded wheels and tires, the brush guard and roll bar, and the orange paint are all fantastic additions. However, MTM’s price point is extravagantly high. The total price for the truck is €199,142, or roughly 219,000 at current exchange rates. That’s a huge bill for a midsize pickup truck, regardless of modifications. Nevertheless, someone out there with loads of cash will likely see a smoking sweet deal. To each his own.

Competition

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Okay, so the list of high-horsepower, modified pickup trucks from aftermarket German tuners is somewhat slim. That’s why we’re pitting the Amarok V8 Desert Edition against one of America’s best pickups – the Ford F-150 Raptor. Redesigned for the 2017 model year, the Raptor is a factory Baja truck with a twin-turbocharged V-6 that makes more power than a Mustang GT. It features meaty, BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, Fox racing shocks, a Torsen limited slip front differential with a full electronic locker out back, and enough attitude to make lesser truck spill oil. What’s more, no matter what Ford decides to charge for the upcoming pickup, it will be far less than $200,000.

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor here.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss

The Trail Boss might not be a highly modified version of the standard Colorado, but it does offer better tires, beefier shocks, and an interesting appearance package. It comes powered by the customer’s choice of a 3.6-liter V-6 or the well-regarded 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. Sure, neither provide horsepower and torque figures anywhere close to the Amarok’s 4.2-liter V-8 TDi, but hey, the price is right. Chevy is only asking around $40,000 for the Z71 Trail Boss.

Read our full review on the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss here.

Conclusion

Okay, so pricing aside, MTM’s Volkswagen Amarok V8 Desert Edition is a sweet truck. The improvements made are very appealing – save, perhaps the Alcantara-everything interior. The powerful V-8 TDi engine, 4WD system, the added skid plates, the Cooper tires – it all compiles into something that makes truck-loving Americans long for the Amarok all over again. Sadly, VW isn’t likely to enter the American midsize truck fight, despite its recent growth.

  • Leave it
    • Insanely expensive
    • Alcantara interior might be overkill
    • A one-off not offered anywhere besides MTM

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Competing Vehicles

Press Release

In partnership with the DIRKS group, MTM will debut the VW Amarok V8 DESERT edition, which follows in the footsteps of cruising-oriented STREET model. The imposing double-cab pick-up houses a 4.2-litre V8 TDi engine developing 410 hp (302 kW) and 930 Nm of torque between 2,000 - 3,000 rpm. The desert should quake when the Amarok V8 Passion DESERT is aroused. Rest to 100 km/h takes 6 seconds and the top speed is 240 km/h depending on the choice of tyre. The brakes have been upgraded to match the performance, measuring 405mm x 36mm at the front axle and 356 x 22mm at the rear. The well-proven Cooper off-road tyres in size 305/50 ZR 20 are mounted on BBS 10 x 20" rims and lend the DESERT a wilderness-ready appearance.

Base price of the vehicle
43.488,15 €
MTM performance upgrade 410 hp (302 kW) incl. warranty
 engine swap 4.2 TDI including MTM performance upgrade
 exhaust system with side pipes
95.160,73 €
MTM / Dirks exterieur parts
 side sills, floor boards and chequer plate
 stylingbar, front bracket and underride guard (black)
 fender extensions and front mask (black)
10.335,84 €
MTM / Dirks interieur package – stipped
 navigation, audio and television system with rear-view camera
 leathered dashboard, door panels, pillars and roof liner
 carbon interieur parts (control vents, steering wheel, floor mat)
 leather/Alcantara seats - stipped
 additional instruments
18.713,74 €
MTM suspension FA coilover / RA air suspension
8.925,63 €
MTM performance brakes
9.991,85 €
BBS SV rims 20“ with Cooper Tires
3.800,00 €
Total price of the vehicle (incl. warranty, tax and installation)
199.142,92 €

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