November 8, 2001

Volkswagen W12 Coupe
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VW W12 Coupe

0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds – top speed, 350 km/h!

Unveiled at the recent 35th Tokyo Motor Show, the latest variation of Volkswagen’s W12 Coupe may well be the fastest sports car in the world when it becomes street legal. The lightweight 1200 kilogram W12 Coupe has a mid-mounted six litre 12 cylinder engine which develops 600 horsepower at 7000 rpm. Quoted performance figures are 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 350 km/h!

To prove its mettle, VW took a W12 prototype to a racetrack in Nardo, Italy and set a world record for distance covered in 24 hours.

Volkswagen W12 Coupe
Volkswagen W12 Coupe
Volkswagen W12 Coupe
Click an image to enlarge

On October 14th, a prototype of the W12 Coup covered 7,085.7 kilometres (4,402.8 miles) at an average speed of 295.24 km/h (183.45 mph), toppling the previous record by a margin of twelve km/h (7.5 mph).

Designed by ItalDesign, the two-seater W12 Coupe has a long, low body and a rear spoiler which automatically extends at speeds over 120 km/h. It features two wing doors which open to the front and a glass roof which extends from the windscreen over the engine compartment where the impressive engine is visible. Compared to the previous W12 Coupe concept, this one has newly-designed headlights and taillights which Volkswagen says more closely resemble those of future Volkswagen top-class models.

The car’s 12 cylinder engine is made up of two very thin V6 four-valve engines which are configured at an angle of 72 degrees. There’s a joint crankshaft with seven main bearings to make up a V-V arrangement, i.e. a “W”. The cylinder angle is just 15 degrees within the two V6 banks. This makes the construction, which is very compact in comparison to V12 engines, possible. With a length of 513 millimetres, a height of 715 millimetres and a width of 710 millimetres, the engine is very compact, and the engine weighs just 239 kilograms.

The W12 engine features variable intake and exhaust valve timing: the inlet camshafts can be continually adjusted through 52 degrees and the corresponding value for the exhaust camshaft is 22 degrees. The enormous power of the engine is transferred to the rear axle via a sequential, fast-shifting six-speed gearbox located behind the engine.

Volkswagen says the W12 engine, with 420 horsepower, will also be used in the Volkswagen ‘Project D1’ luxury sedan to be introduced in the Spring of 2002 – and in a future premium off-road vehicle.

The W12 rides on low-profile 255/35ZR-19 inch front tires and 275/40ZR-19 inch rear tyres mounted on specially-developed 19″ magnesium wheels.

Volkswagen W12 Coupe
Click image to enlarge

The suspension is an independent double wishbone setup front and rear, and the car has an ideal front/rear weight distribution of nearly 50:50. The W12 includes an electronic stability program and traction control system, however the TCS can be switched off for racing use. Brakes are huge ventilated Brembo discs with a diameter of 318 millimetres at the front and rear. An electrically-activated handbrake has been set up for production vehicles.

Its luxurious interior includes leather, aluminium, and carbon fibre. The seats, fittings and door trim have been finished with a black/grey suede and colour-coded leather. Volkswagen used a new chemical process to create the red aluminum trim accents. The speedometer and tachometer are conventional round gauges, but functions for the air conditioning system, the navigation system, the on-board computer and the telephone are controlled via a colour display in the centre of the dash panel.

No word on the price yet, but expect it to be in ‘supercar’ territory.

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