This is the 2001 Volkswagen W12 concept car, otherwise known as the Nardo. This was the car VW built when they set out to prove that they could build a world-class super car. With twelve cylinders packing into a W configuration putting down almost 600bhp, this car accomplished just that.
The Nardo wasn’t actually the first W12 concept car VW built. There was a yellow car built in 1997 named the Syncro, after VW’s four-wheel drive system. The Syncro ushered in an era of killer Supercar concepts from VAG, including the Bugatti Chiron and Veyron, the Audi Rosemeyer, and the Bentley Hunaudieres. VW continued to improve their own W12; building a roadster version in 1998 and the suped up Nardo in 2001.
So how did the final version of the W12 earn the nickname “the Nardo”? VW’s test car actually set a number of speed records at the famed Nardo test track with the W12, most notably distance traveled and an average speed of 200mph over a 24 hour period.
Sadly the car was never put into production. The car’s only goal was to prove VAG could build a powerful engine to use in its lineup, which various versions ended up in the Phaeton and Toureg, Bentley Continental, and Audi A8. VAG also had Lamborghini, Bugatti, and the Audi R8 in its stable, so there was really no point in building yet another supercar.
This 1:18 scale model is branded as a Road Signature, a division of Yat Ming. For a budget model, the car is surprisingly detailed and straight. You can find a handful on eBay for around $25-40, new in box.
The engine bay is nice and clean, but the plastic looks very plasticy. I know, I’m painting a beautiful word picture for you guys. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way more detailed than your average budget model. The VW emblems on the air filters are awesome details. Lots of contrasting colors help make all the different pieces pop.
Proportion-wise, I think Yat Ming nailed it. The wheels and tires don’t look too small or too big and fill out the wheel arches nicely. The VW logos on the front and rear look fantastic and are where they belong. They aren’t cheap, off centered decals either.
The famous scissor doors borrowed from the car’s Italian cousins stay propped open for display. The mirror stands aren’t completely accurate, but it’s understandable that a model at this price point wouldn’t be able to replicate the real car’s intricate designs. Slotted rotors and brake calipers sit behind those awesome graphite colored 7-spoke wheels.
The fog lights are just chrome covers and the front grille isn’t perforated, but again, they look excellent for this class of model.
The back side of the car is my favorite angle. It’s almost perfect from back here. The jeweled tail lights accent the quad-tailpipes and the VW logo is perfectly centered. There’s also a little peepshow going on between the diffuser and the rear bumper.
Let’s talk about some negatives. The fuel filler cap is a tampo under the clear coat. Lame.
The upper door frames are actually made of plastic and are unfortunately super flexible. So flexible that they don’t line up with the body anymore. Well one of them doesn’t anyway.
Then there’s this. See that silver piece that's part of the roof structure? It’s supposed to be silver, but it looks like they missed it with the paint gun. There’s just a bit of orange overspray on it to make you think it’s supposed to be painted orange too. It’s not though. In fact, it’s not even supposed to be visible. On the real car, this piece is tucked under the glass roof.
The interioris kind if a mixed bag. The seats look amazing with quilted leather detail and the orange accents throughout the cabin really set things off. On the other hand, the gauges are weak, the pedals look cheap, and I’m not sure how I feel about the steering wheel.
So to wrap things up here, this is a great budget model. Motor Max and Mondo Motors also make a 1/18 Nardo. Thier models have a very different looking engine as well as different wheels. In my own biased opinion, the Road Siganture version is better. It looks far less toy-like than the Motor Max. As far as I know, there isn’t a 1/18 of the Syncro or the W12 Roadster, which is too bad because I really like these concepts. We’ve also seen a 1/24 Motor Max presented by R32rennsport from the collection of TFritch. This W12 is pretty decent for the money, and if you’re a concept car nut like me, it’s a must have.