The V6 Amarok Sportline has been announced by Volkswagen, which will be the cheapest way into their most-powerful ute. How much? Fifty-five and a half grand, before you drive away.

That saves a fair amount of dosh over the $59,990 Highline, and is a long way away from the $67,990 Ultimate spec. Importantly, you’re getting the class-leading and very impressive V6 engine, which makes 165kW and 550Nm. There’s an overboost function available as well, which spikes to 180kW and 580Nm for ten seconds, provided some gear and throttle conditions are met.

For that kind of money, the V6 Amarok Sportline is facing up directly against the Ford Ranger XLT, and the Toyota HiLux SR5, the two biggest-volume sellers in this segment. In fact, the Ranger and HiLux account for 43% of the 4X4 ute market between them. Also, there is the Nissan Navara ST-X, and Holden’s much-improved Colorado, in range-topping Z71 spec.

Like the Ultimate and Highline, The V6 Amarok Sportline is only available with the 8-speed automatic gearbox and permanent 4WD. This comes with a Torsen centre differential but lacks a low-range transfer case.

Want a clutch pedal and low range? Hold your horses, because a manual-geared, six-speed V6 Amarok is coming to Australia at some stage next year. This option will also be a couple of grand cheaper than the automatic version, as well.

The V6 Amarok Sportline engine: the powerful option for a ute, until the X-Class turns up.

The V6 Amarok Sportline engine: the powerful option for a ute, until the X-Class turns up.

More specs for the Sportline: 18″ alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, 6.33″ infotainment screen with App-Connect and dual Apple Carplay. There’s a locking rear diff, and disc brakes all-round (like the rest of the V6 models).

It’s still the most powerful engine available in a 4X4 ute, if you’re not counting the American big rigs that don’t really compete on price and size. Volkswagen notes that this will be changing in the future with the arrival of the Mercedes X-Class ute, but they also are happy to point out that the Amarok is not based on another ute from a Japanese manufacturer.

Interestingly, the new V6 Amarok is coming to Australia without ‘AdBlue’ SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction), because of strong international demand for the V6-powered Amarok.