By Larry Edsall
Call it the Worthersee concept, the Power Pickup or the Uber Amarok, the concept truck recently debuted in Austria by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles group shows that good things can come in smaller packages.
It doesn't matter what Americans call it, however. That's because Volkswagen of America has no plans to bring the Amarok pickup truck — in production or concept guise — to the U.S. market.
However, there have been published reports that, like our neighbors to the south, our neighbors to the north may be getting VW's pickup. That report, on autoblog.com, also says that the Amarok has proven so popular that VW will produce the pint-sized pickup in its commercial vehicle plant in Austria. So far an assembly plant in Argentina has been producing the pickup, which is sold in South and Central America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Amarok, an Inuit word for wolf, is produced in two- and four-door versions. The new concept vehicle uses the standard cab but with fender flares to make room for 22-inch rims.
But while the wheel/tire package is enlarged, the ride is lowered — by more than 3 inches.
That's all the better for putting to the ground the grunt provided by a 272-horsepower, turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, and this no wimpy engine — it pumps out 442 pounds-feet of torque.
That power flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission to a full-time all-wheel drivetrain, all of which means the truck can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, VW claims.
VW notes that this is "not bad" for a vehicle whose cargo area measures 37.67 square feet. In the case of the Amarok concept, that's enough room for a go-kart racer to sit atop boxes holding all the replacement parts, tools and gear needed for a race weekend.
Enhancing the concept's exterior are a new front panel with bi-xenon headlamps with chrome inserts behind clear glass; a matt-black, chrome-trimmed radiator grille and three larger air intakes beneath the front bumper; carbon-fiber sill extensions; gun-metal wheels wrapped with 295/35-aspect rubber; a styling bar behind the passenger compartment; a carbon-fiber rear diffuser to dual tailpipes; smoked rear lamps; and a special LED array that provides what VW terms "a very unique night graphic."
The interior mimics GTI styling with a black-red-white color scheme and folding bucket seats, a sport steering wheel and widened center console. The seat trim is carbon fiber, and the leather is black nubuck with red stitching. The interior trim is brushed aluminum. The instrument panel includes a gauge for timing zero-to-60 sprints.
For those times when you want to hear something other than the exhaust note, the concept has an 8-inch touch-screen display to control an audio system that includes cooled direct-mode amplifiers and a 500-watt subwoofer.
The concept was unveiled at the recent Worthersee 2013, otherwise known as the 32nd GTI Meet, an annual event that attracts nearly 200,000 VW enthusiasts to the shores of Austria's Lake Worthersee.