For a company that was created at the command of the most notorious, brutal figures in modern history, Volkswagen and its historical stable of cute cars like the Beetle has developed the cuddliest, feel goodiest persona. You could literally hug cars like the Beetle or Golf and not look (completely) strange. But not the new Amarok M. This military-grade truck decked out in heavy-duty accoutrements shows another side of VW, a side that can give children nightmares with its full name alone: Rheinmetall Amarok M Light Multi-Purpose Vehicle.

The Amarok is a small Volkswagen pickup truck sold in Europe, Australia and other markets around the world. Rheinmetall Defence, the German military outfitter behind the Amarok M, says that the upgraded truck is built for on- and off-road mobility, flexibility and reliability, with an underlying focus on special operations. The model is equipped with all-wheel drive, an off-road anti-blocking system, choice of diesel or gasoline engine, and eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. It packs up to 180 hp and is capable of speeds up to 111 mph (180 km/h).

Rheinmetall says the Amarok M can carry a payload up to 1.5 tons (1.37 tonnes) and can be outfitted with specific kits to support different types of missions. It can transport up to four fully-equipped soldiers and offers room for stowing equipment. Other military-spec equipment includes rifle racks, a radio communications system and an electrically powered ring mount for affixing a machine gun or grenade launcher.

In short, Rheinmetall's conversion transforms a rather meek small pickup truck into a fearsome machine of destruction and conquest. The company envisions the light-duty truck being used as anything from a military police patrol truck to a command and communications vehicle.

Rheinmetall introduced the Amarok M at the Eurosatory show in Paris this week. The light vehicle was showcased with a variety of other equipment, including new 120 mm tank ammunition, the Boxer combat vehicle and air defense technologies.

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