volkswagen reveals w12 coupe design study at tokyo

Oct 24, 2001

Shortly after revealing the first official pictures of its forthcoming luxury saloon, Project D1, Volkswagen is today uncovering a production standard design study of a sports car, the W12 Coupé, at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Developing 600 bhp at 7000 rpm and maximum torque of 620 Newton metres (457 lbs ft) at 5800 rpm, the W12 Coupe reaches 62 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of over 217 mph.  Weighing just 1200 kg, it is one of the fastest sports cars in the world.

Key to this is a mid-mounted lightweight (239 kg) and compact 6.0-litre (5998 cc), 12 cylinder engine with 4 valves per cylinder.  The layout of the W12 engine imay be described as two narrow-angle V6 cylinder blocks joined side by side at an angle of 72 degrees onto a common seven bearing crankshaft.  This makes a “double V” or “W” formation of this exceptionally smooth and compact W12 engine.

Power is transferred to the rear axle via a sequential six-speed gearbox located behind the engine, a classic mid-engined layout.  Contact with the road is made via specially developed 19 inch magnesium wheels with 255/35 ZR front tyres and 275/40 ZR at the rear.

Front and rear suspension is with double wishbone layout and weight distribution is 50:50 over a wheelbase of 2.63 metres.  An electronic stability program (ESP) and traction control system (TCS) provide stability and safety at speed for road use but can be switched off for motor sport conditions.  Ventilated Brembo brake discs with a diameter of 318 millimetres are fitted at both the front and rear and the electrically activated handbrake has been set up for an easy integration in standard production.

The long, flat body of the Coupé, with subtle rear spoiler which automatically activates at 75 mph, extends the timeless elegance of Volkswagen design into the sports car sector.  Its appearance is long, wide and low with dimensions of 4.55 metres (length), 1.92 metres (width) and 1.1 metres (height).

The design study drafted by Italdesign has been further refined in comparison to its two predecessors; newly designed headlights and rear lights echo even more strongly the characteristics of the future top class models from Volkswagen.

The W12 Coupé has two wing doors, and a central glass panel which extends the length of the roof from the windscreen to the end of the engine compartment enabling the W12 engine to be seen through the transparent engine compartment cover.

Leather, aluminium and carbon fibre dominate the interior of the W12 Coupé.  Seats, fittings and door trims have been finished, for example, with a black/grey suede and a colour coded leather.  The red aluminium elements in the interior are also distinctive – Volkswagen has used a new chemical process to achieve this surface finish.  The layout of the instruments is classical with two round main displays providing the most important information, while the controls for the air conditioning, navigation system, on-board computer and car telephone are controlled via a colour display in the centre console.

All details and equipment on the W12 Coupé are fully functional and the concepts on display are close to production standards.


On 14 October, a prototype of Volkswagen\'s W12 Coupé concept car set the world speed record (subject to recognition by the FIA) for distance covered in 24 hours.  On the Nardo high-speed circuit in southern Italy the sports car covered 4402.8 miles at an average speed of 183.45 mph, improving on the previous record set by a Chevrolet LTS Corvette by a margin of 7.5 mph.  At the same time the team of drivers broke two other world records in the W12 Coupé and six vehicle class speed records.

The 12 cylinder engine will be available first in the new luxury saloon, the Project D1.  In this case the 6.0-litre engine will produce 420 bhp and 560 Newton metres of torque.  These figures make the W12 currently the most powerful 12 cylinder engine to be installed in a production vehicle. 

It is also definite that the engine will be fitted in Volkswagen\'s luxury high-performance off-roader.




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