VW and the Rock Star

The VW W12 coupé first shown at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show.

Designed by Italdesign, demonstrating Volkswagen’s engineering capabilities.

Followed by the W12 roadster at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show after a positive reception.

The car featured a unique W12 engine configuration, combining two narrow-angle V6 engines.

The initial 5.6-litre engine was later increased to 6.0 litres, producing 600 horsepower with a top speed of 217 mph.

It accelerated from 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds.

Set a 24-hour endurance record in 2001, covering 4,403 miles at an average speed of 183.25 mph.

It achieved multiple speed records over shorter distances.

VW fitted it with a lightweight aluminium body and carbon fibre chassis.

It had a futuristic design with gullwing doors and a luxurious interior with leather and high-quality materials.

Developed variants included the W12 Syncro, W12 Roadster, and W12 Nardò.

Nardò variant set the endurance records.

Although never mass-produced, it influenced future high-performance cars from Volkswagen Group.

The W12 engine concept is used in high-end models from Bentley and Audi.

It was intended to demonstrate Volkswagen’s capabilities and push automotive technology boundaries.

Revised W12 coupé shown at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show.

TVW Hierarchy cancelled it due to a glut of supercars under development within the VW Group, notably the W12-powered Bugatti Veyron.

The VW W12 was proof that sometimes, even engineering marvels can’t outrun corporate red tape.

‘The W12 was like a rock star: brilliant, flashy, and gone too soon.’