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A W12 is a 12-cylinder engine in a W configuration. Some prototype W12 engines have used three banks of 4 cylinders though none have ever gone into production. All production W12 engines to date (April, 2005) use four banks of three cylinders (two narrow-angle V6 engine blocks), coupled to a common crankshaft.

At the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show, Volkwagen showcased the W12 Coupe, a mid-engined, rear wheel drive supercar powered by a 6 litre W12 engine producing 600 hp. A week before, the W12 Coupe broke the world 24 hour endurance record. A total distance of 7085.7 kilometres (4402.8 miles) was covered at an average speed of 295.24 km/h (185.45 mph), breaking the old record by 12 km/h (7.5 mph). Production of the W12 Coupe was considered but is currently cancelled.

Volkswagen Group currently produces W12s, based on two of its narrow-angle VR6 engines. The narrow angle of each set of cylinders allows just two camshafts to drive each pair of banks, so just four are needed in total. Note that this design differs from the W18 that Volkswagen produced for its Bugatti concept cars of 1998 and 1999. Due to this distinction, the VW Group's W12 engine is sometimes described as a WR12.

The VW W12 is used in some high-end luxury models:

  • Audi A8
  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Bentley Continental Flying Spur
  • Volkswagen Phaeton
  • Volkswagen Touareg

External links

Volkswagen's VR6 and W-engines

Piston engine configurations
Straight Single, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14
V 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24
Flat 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, H
W 8, 9, 12, 16, 18
Other inline H, VR, Opposed, U (Square), X
Other Hemi, Radial, Rotary, Pistonless, Deltic, (Wankel)

Heat engines
Stroke cycles
Engine types
Gas turbinePistonJetRocket engineSteam engineStirling engineTschudiTwingle
Cylinder head portingD slideFour-strokeManifoldMultiPistonPoppetSleeve
Piston layouts
Single cylinderStraightOpposedFlatVWHDelticRadialRocket engine nozzleRotaryStelzerControlled CombustionBourke
Motion mechanisms
CamConnecting rodCoomber rotaryCrankCrank substituteCrankshaftLinkages (EvansPeaucellier-LipkinSector straight-lineWatt) • Double acting/differential cylinder
Thermodynamic cycle