Did It Happen?

The W12 concept proved its mettle on the track and promptly retired, though its lineage can be traced through Volkswagen’s own W8- and W12-powered vehicles, like the Passat, Touareg and the Phaeton, as well as top-line models from Audi, Bentley and, of course, Bugatti.


Sure, the W8 might’ve been a very impressive sounding, very complicated money pit, but there’s still something admirable about Volkswagen’s complete lack of restraint around the turn of the century. Propelled by having more money than sense, it sought to stuff its wild new engines in everything from executive sedans to the fastest production car in the world. It’s exactly the kind of hubris that when left unchecked inevitably culminates in a $38 billion emissions scandal.

As for the Veyron, it was the only car that could’ve made the Nardo’s achievements look tame. With 16 cylinders, four turbochargers and 1,184 HP by the end of its run, Bugatti’s iconic hypercar owes a great deal of its legacy to the W12, as does the newer Chiron. And hitting those numbers certainly didn’t come easy.


Can You Drive It In A Video Game?

Yes! In fact, out of all the vehicles I’ve brought up thus far in Cars Of Future Past, the W12 has appeared in the most number of titles. The Nardo was featured in Gran Turismo 4, 5, 6, the GT Concept series and even the PSP entry; it also made it to Project Gotham Racing 3, World Racing 2 and R:Racing Evolution, the somewhat underrated semi-realistic spinoff of the Ridge Racer franchise nobody thinks about anymore.

The W12 Syncro was included in one of Project Gotham Racing 2's DLC packs (good luck getting your hands on that in 2021) and in Test Drive Unlimited, where the W12 Roadster was also available. Hell, the W12 Roadster wound up in Roadsters, a game I vaguely remember renting from Blockbuster when I was too young to make good decisions. But the best appearance of the W12 in gaming might just have to be in Race Driver: Grid, which was the only title to include not any of the concept versions of Volkswagen’s supercar, but rather the test car that set all those records — perfect wheels intact.