W12 engines were nothing new when Bentley popularised them in the early 2000s. Eight decades before Volkswagen started workshopping its mill in the late 1990s, the actual W layout was first seen in aeroplanes with three banks of four cylinders. Those engines would appear in land, sea and air-fairing speed record vehicles and eventually (unsuccessfully) in a Le Mans racer. The Life F1 W12 of 1990 used this layout, too, but Volkswagen’s W12 was more like two VR6 engines stuck together in the same crank.
The best cars to use the W12 engine
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