Volkswagen lines up Ranger Raptor with off-road-focused W580X

The Walkinshaw-tuned Volkswagen Amarok is about to get down and (very) dirty.

2022 Volkswagen Amarok W580X
2022 Volkswagen Amarok W580X

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed its locally engineered Amarok ute will soon step up the off-road focus in the form of the W580X, due next year and teased in the form of a single CGI image of the car bounding across sand.

Building on the original W-Series models – the W580 and W580S – the W580X shifts the focus from the road to gravel, sand, snow and whatever else owners care to throw at it.

“The first W-Series was a chance to offer something that no-one else in the market could do – a powerful, dynamic ute that was as comfortable on highways as it was on alpine passes,” said Volkswagen Australia national marketing and product manager Nick Reid.

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“With the new W580X, our W-Series off-road Amarok, we can lean in to another aspect of the Amarok’s platform. We know the Amarok is among the best off-roaders around in standard form, but with Walkinshaw giving it a unique tune, we’ll be able to offer something unbeatable to Australian customers.”

Whereas the W580/W580S used 20-inch alloys with revised suspension designed to sharpen the on-road manners, the W580X looks to the bush and the outback.

The upcoming W580X gets 18-inch forged allows wrapped in all-terrain tyres – and it’s expected to get a spare sporting the same rubber.

Amarok W580
There are similarities between the original W580 and the 2022 W580X (top), but the latter is focused on rough roads rather than bitumen

The front suspension has been lifted and along with the rear-end gets Monroe MTV dampers tuned for off-road word.

Many of the styling changes are carried over from the W580, including the grille and bumper inserts. But a new lower bash plate, nicely integrated LED light bar and rock sliders down each side beef things up visually. There’s also metal underbody protection from Seikel as well as an optional snorkel.

Like the W580 there’s also tyre pressure sensors for early warning of a puncture.

As with the W580/W580S the W580X is being engineered by the Walkinshaw Group, best known for previously creating HSVs.

Volkswagen says the W580X will be offered in “limited numbers” and will be rarer on the road than the road-focused W580/W580S.

“X is going to be more of a limited edition,” a spokesperson told us. “It’ll be around in lesser numbers.”

While the W580X doesn’t have the heavily modified suspension of Ford’s Ranger Raptor, it’s trying to encroach on the desire for utes that can do more in rough terrain.

We’ll have to wait until April 2022 when it goes on sale to see if Volkswagen and Walkinshaw have succeeded in creating a truck for the rough.

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If it's on four wheels, Toby Hagon has probably driven it. From the latest supercars to rock-hopping off-roaders (or anything in between!) he loves a road trip and works on the thinking that no road is too long or windy. The former National Motoring Editor at Fairfax these days runs his own show, contributing to Wheels, Which Car, News Corp, Qantas magazine and ABC Radio, and MotoFomo.