The 6 litre W12 engine used in the VW Touareg was also fitted to the VW Phaeton and in modified form to the Bentley Continental GT. This would be the engine that was the starting point of the famous W16 engine developed for the Bugatti Veyron and later the Bugatti Chiron, each of which would take the “fastest production car in the world” title upon their respective releases.

The VW W12 engine was offered in a number of variations including the Volkswagen W12 supercar concept (also known as the Volkswagen Nardò). The engine has a W12 configuration, essentially two banks of 6 cylinders that are offset so 3 cylinders each line up. It’s been described as a double V6 by some, and it allows a shorter engine block to be designed than a traditional V12.

VW Touareg W12 Engine 1

Volkswagen engineers created a 48 valve, DOHC per bank, all-alloy W12 with between 444 and 450+ hp, as well as 443 ft lbs of torque. It’s a naturally aspirated engine, however the Bentley versions utilised twin turbos to further boost output. The related Bugatti W16 uses quad turbos and the Chiron is capable of 1,479 hp and over 300 mph.

The W12 version of the VW Touareg was developed for wealthy clientele, with a particular focus on buyers in the Middle East who were early adopters of high-performance SUVs like the Lamborghini LM002. The Touareg was originally released in 2002 as a luxury SUV to compete with vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne. The 6 litre W12 engine was first offered in 2005, Volkswagen initially intended to sell 500 of them, but due to it popularity it was made a regular production model from 2005 onwards.

VW Touareg W12 Engine 5

The W12 received largely positive press when it was released, it was essentially a supercar engine the was being offered in practical four-door family vehicles, although the fuel economy did leave something to be desired with figures around 14 mpg not being uncommon.

As with any complex and exotic engine the largest issue typically turns out to be maintenance costs, and this was no different with the VW Touareg and Phaeton. Early models have seen depreciation hit almost 90% over 14-15 years, and higher milage examples have seen worse still.

The engine you see here is from a Touareg with approximately 200,000 kms on the odometer, so it very likely needs a full rebuild before it’s put back into a car. The most obvious use for it would be spare parts, however it would make an excellent candidate for the most ambitious engine swap of 2020 if you have enough ambition and deep enough pockets for it.

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Published by Ben Branch -