In 1997, the renowned Italian designer Italdesign, known for iconic designs with brands like Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Lancia, BMW, Lotus, and Ferrari, introduced a concept super sports car that diverged from the typical Volkswagen model lineup at the time and continues to do so today.

This car, the “Volkswagen W12,” marked the genesis of the group’s vehicles equipped with a W-shaped engine, metaphorically representing two engines combined horizontally. It paved the way for future models, notably the Bugatti Veyron W16, although the W engine project had its roots with Audi in 1991, starting with the Audi Avos Quattro W12. However, the Volkswagen W12 was the first car to experiment extensively with this innovative engine technology.

In 2001, Volkswagen launched the most powerful iteration of this car, named the “Volkswagen W12 Coupe,” also known as the Volkswagen Nardo, a reference to the renowned racing circuit near the Italian city of Nardo, where it underwent testing.

For this model, Volkswagen made several enhancements over the initial 1997 concept, refining its dynamics and aerodynamics. The wheelbase was extended, signaling its readiness for production. Notably, the car features a sporty cabin designed for two occupants, accessed via doors that open upwards at a wide angle for ease of entry and exit.

According to Ferdinand Piech, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group at the time, the aim of this car was to showcase Volkswagen’s capability not only in producing fuel-efficient commercial engines but also in engineering powerful engines for supercars.

The Volkswagen W12 Coupe measures 4550 mm in length, 1920 mm in width, and stands at a of under 1100 mm, with a curb weight of 1250 kg, firmly establishing its classification as a supercar. It boasts an ideal weight distribution ratio of 50% on both the front and rear axles.

Powering the Volkswagen W12 is a formidable 12-cylinder mid-engined W-shaped powerplant, a fusion of two V6 engines, each comprising 6 cylinders arranged in a V-shape with a 72-degree angle and a total displacement of 6 liters (5998 cubic centimeters). With 4 valves per cylinder, the engine boasts a total of 60 valves. Paired with a 6-speed sequential gearbox and a four-wheel-drive system, the car delivers exhilarating performance.

The engine, weighing a mere 239 kg, produces 600 hp at 7,000 rpm and 614 Nm of torque at 5,800 rpm. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes a mere 3.5 seconds, with a top speed reaching 350 km per hour.

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