Before the Bugatti Veyron, there was the stunning W12 concept car from the Volkswagen which was the first full-blown supercar from the German company that was known for creating and building people’s cars since its inception. The car debuted at the at the 1997 Tokyo International Motor Show and was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign. In all, three W12 concept cars were created: a coupe in 1997, a 1998 roadster, and the W12 Nardo of introduced in 2001.
The pinnacle of the W12 project was the W12 Nardo which was unveiled in 2001 at the Tokyo Motor Show. This car was finished in bright orange and featured a thoroughly revised body, a lighter chassis, and an enlarged 6.0-liter powerplant that churns out up to 591 horsepower. Its name comes from the high-speed test track where it set new world records at that time.
Later that year, the W12 Nardo was put the test on the track for the first time. In the first real-world tests, the car managed to clock average speeds of 183.5 mph (295.3 kph) over 4,402 miles (7,084 km), establishing its first world record. On February 23, 2002, the black prototype with its golden BBS rims went back to the track for another series of tests. This time, the managed to maintain an astonishing average speed of 200.6 mph (322.8 kph) over 4,809 miles (7,739 km) in 24 hours. With this feat, the W12 Nardo was able to set new seven world records and twelve international class records.