This anniversary doesn’t just celebrate Volkswagen’s victory 20 years ago, it also celebrates how far they have come since.
The Volkswagen W12 Concept Coupe was the first foray into Volkswagen’s then-experimental “W” engine, which we have since come to see in Audis, Bentleys, Volkswagens, and most famously the revolutionary Bugatti hypercars, which to this day use the W engine to change the automotive world.
Along with cars like the Audi Rosemeyer and the Bentley Hunaudières, the Volkswagen W12 Concept Coupe was a daring, experimental concept car that served as a trailblazer for the entire Volkswagen Group’s design and engineering for the 21st century, and the knowledge gained from those cars went on to be used to create some of the most incredible cars of all time. However, the Volkswagen W12 has a legacy of its own.
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In 2001, Volkswagen gave the W12 the responsibility of attempting a 24-hour speed record at Nardò. The original concept was improved to the tune of a 6-liter engine, 591 horsepower, and a 0-60 time of just 3.5 seconds. Volkswagen broke the record with an average of 183.5 mph over the 24 hours, proving the W12 to the world. However, the team at Volkswagen weren’t done quite yet.
On February 23, 2002, just four months after the first record was broken in October 2001, the Volkswagen W12 Nardò had a second try at the world record, and it was broken yet again with an average of 200.6 miles per hour over 4,809 miles covered. And while this is an amazing achievement for Volkswagen on its own, the W engine went on to break all kinds of world records, and to this day in cars like the Bugatti Veyron, Chiron, Bolide, Divo, and more, continues to be one of the greatest powertrains in the world.