Driven: 132kW biTDI VW Amarok

2012-07-20 07:19

Volkswagen’s Amarok double cab has rolled up for an engine upgrade less than two years after its South African launch. We tried out the new 132kW biTDI to see if it really is more drivable than the automaker claims.

Image gallery

Engine specs

The 120kW 2.0 biTDI Amarok was quite the revelation when it was introduced here in 2010. “A biturbo diesel engine – what are they thinking” became the opener to some very interesting discussions, most notably concerning the durability of the configuration.


Not that this has seemed to bother Volkswagen SA, who’ve just released an upgraded version of the engine – this time with 132kW on tap at 4000rpm. The peak torque remains at 400Nm available from 1500-2250rpm.

The power hike is mostly due to tweaks to the engine mapping and adjustments to the turbos’ boost pressures, Jaco Steenekamp, VWSA’s head of commercial vehicles’ sales and marketing division, said. Furthermore, the clutch travel has been altered for smoother changes that, along with the revised engine mapping, address previous concerns over the 120kW’s fondness for stalling.

Despite the extra 12kW, the overall Amarok double-cab experience remains relaxing thanks to its high level of ride comfort and the easy-shifting six-speed manual transmission.  


Unchanged is the Amarok’s choice of two drivetrains: 4Motion four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive.

And that’s the extent of the changes. No cosmetic nor mechanical upgrades, Trendline and Highline specification levels continue and other engines in the Amarok line-up - the 90kW turbodiesel and the 118kW 2.0 TSI – remain unchanged.

There are more running changes in store for the Amarok range, such as the option of a multifunction steering wheel and cornering lights before the end of 2012 and - most notably -  the addition in January, 2013 of an eight-speed automatic transmission (using the ZF system currently seen in the capable Touareg model).

The 132kW 2.0 biTDI engine upgrade will be made available in the Amarok single cab in 2013.

Amarok Double Cab prices:
2.0 TSI 118kW    Trendline 4x2 - R313 500
2.0 TDI 90kW Trendline 4x2 - R341 700
2.0 TDI 90kW Trendline 4Motion - R391 900

2.0 BiTDI 132kW Highline 4x2 - R375 100
2.0 BiTDI 132kW Highline 4Motion - R425 300

  • fredster.mania.5 - 2012-07-20 08:57

    I will have the Ranger thanks

      sheda.habib - 2012-07-21 11:24

      Test drove the Amarok bought the Ranger 3,2XLT. Best decusion ever.

  • stephan.bezuidenhout.7 - 2012-07-20 10:03

    Agree, Ranger much better choice!!!

  • simon.toit - 2012-07-20 12:35

    So did you not actually drive it? Why does the headline say Driven:?

  • jaco.venter.9400 - 2012-07-20 12:46

    Read between the lines. the stalling of the engine with pull away is tipically signs of an small engine with turbo's. there is just not enough torq at low revs for it to pull the weight.

  • peter.allderman - 2012-07-21 21:22

    Try and publish something that is just a little short of an advertising promo. Please.

  • markvdm - 2012-07-21 21:27

    Drove them both and went with the New Ranger 3.2....only Milk, Juice and Amaroks come in 2L.....

  • jimmy.thulare - 2012-07-22 18:26

    i cant wait for a test drive in an Amarok d/cab

  • sam.brink.92 - 2012-07-23 12:05

    cars are evolving. Cubic centimeters are nothing more than an extension of a less than desirable manhood.

      erik.p.vanwyk - 2012-07-23 14:23

      So you find a 1 litre Yaris manly?...Big cars (or bakkies) need big engines!

  • ernst.jansen.7 - 2012-07-27 13:21

    I Love my Amarok 132kw!!! Wont change it for a Ranger or Hilux ever!

  • jadedossantos - 2012-11-09 08:48

    Land Rover Defender has a 2.2 liter engine to move that much bulk. I think the way we perceive engine displacement, in light of R12 per liter of Diesel, needs to change. Very happy with my TDi Amarok, only issue is the crunchy gear changes, door seal leak, and VW for that matter. I didn't like the new Ranger looks and the very long bonnet, otherwise, it's tough as nail and a great option.

  • Johan de Villiers - 2013-03-18 11:39

    The fuel figures for the Amarok is impressive as I do excessive driving, is there any truth to it or optimistic speculation?

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