Volkswagen W12

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Volkswagen Nardò Concept W12
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Production 1997-2001
Body and chassis
Class Sports Car
Engine W12
Predecessor W12 Syncro '97

The Volkswagen W12 Coupe (also known as the Volkswagen Nardò, referring to the Nardò Ring vehicle test track, near the Italian city of Nardò) was a concept car created by Volkswagen Passenger Cars in 1997. The car is portrayed in games, such as Gran Turismo, Asphalt 8, Project Gotham Racing 3, GTI Racing, and the Test Drive series. This car also featured in an April Fools joke as the new Volkswagen LeVanto.[1]

The 1997 Volkswagen W12 Syncro at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2008.

Initial conception[edit]

At the request of then Volkswagen Group CEO Ferdinand Piech, Giorgetto Giugiaro and his Italdesign team was tasked to design a Volkswagen sports car, with instructions that it had to accommodate a 12-cylinder engine in a W configuration, be mid-engined, and also be able to be configured with Volkswagen's Syncro four-wheel drive system.

Another reason for its conception was to prove to the world that Volkswagen Group can build a supercar and can build a large and reliable engine for its luxury cars and sports cars, including the popular lineup of their cars, the Volkswagen Phaeton, and its sport utility vehicle, the Volkswagen Touareg. In fact, the W12 engine featured in the eponymous Volkswagen W12 is closely related to the engines found in the Volkswagen Phaeton, Volkswagen Touareg, Audi A8 and Bentley Continental GT. The W12's engine is also an ancestor of the Bugatti Veyron's W16 engine[2].

The concepts[edit]

W12 Syncro (1997)[edit]

In 1997, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen debuted their first sports car concept, a bright yellow W12 Syncro (also known as the W12 Syncro Coupé) with a 5.6-litre W12 engine producing 309 kilowatts (420 PS; 414 bhp) with Syncro four-wheel drive. It, and the W12 concepts after it, were all designed by the Italdesign firm in Italy.

  • length: 4400 mm
  • width: 1920 mm
  • height: 1100 mm
  • wheelbase: 2530 mm
  • front track: 1620 mm
  • rear track: 1600 mm
  • front overhang: 1000 mm
  • rear overhang: 870 mm
  • engine position: mid longitudinal
  • drive: four-wheel drive
  • engine: 5,600 cubic centimetres (341.7 cu in) W12
  • rated power: 309 kilowatts (420 PS; 414 bhp)

W12 Roadster (1998)[edit]

It is an open topped version of W12 Syncro with red body colour, rear-wheel drive.

The vehicle was unveiled in 1998 Geneva Auto Show.

  • length: 4400 mm
  • width: 1920 mm
  • height: 1100 mm
  • wheelbase: 2530 mm
  • front track: 1634 mm
  • rear track: 1652 mm
  • front overhang: 990 mm
  • rear overhang: 880 mm
  • engine position: mid longitudinal
  • drive: rear-wheel drive
  • engine: 5,600 cubic centimetres (341.7 cu in) W12
  • rated power: 309 kilowatts (420 PS; 414 bhp)

W12 Nardò (2001)[edit]

VW W12 Nardò 2001.
VW W12 Nardò 2001.

In 2001, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen Group released their most powerful W12 sports car concept yet, in bright orange (then also known as the W12 Nardò). The engine was rated at producing 441 kilowatts (600 PS; 591 bhp) and 621 newton metres (458 lbf·ft) of torque; it could accelerate from standstill to 100 kilometres per hour (62.1 mph) in about 3.5 seconds, and had a top speed of 357 kilometres per hour (221.8 mph), weighing just 1,200 kilograms (2,646 lb). It was one of the fastest sports car concepts in the world. It was created by Charlie Adair.


On 23 February 2002, a Volkswagen W12 coupé took the world record for all speed classes over 24 hours over the Nardò Ring at Lecce, covering a distance of 7,740.576 kilometres (4,809.8 mi) at an average speed of 322.891 kilometres per hour (200.6 mph).[3][4]

Gran Turismo[edit]

The W12's first appearance was in Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva, it has been featured in the series ever since.


  1. ^ Volkswagen USA on Facebook
  2. ^ TG’s guide to concepts: the Volkswagen W12
  3. ^ Notice that original Italian names has stress on the last syllable.
  4. ^ W12 Record

External links[edit]