W12 Car Engines – How Do They Work?


First of all, why a W12 engine in a car? Well, once you find out what the benefits of using such a motor are, you’ll definitely understand why. But if that’s not enough, try driving a W12 engine powered vehicle yourself. You can’t get a more convincing answer!

So, what’s so great about it? Actually, the W12 engine is not that different from a V-type unit in terms of basic operation systems. But there are some technology differences that make all the difference in the world. For one thing, the W12s are both considerably more powerful and smoother than the other types of motors. Then they are more compact, especially as compared to the straight 12 engines. They are also known for having a solid structure and reduced levels of vibration.


Simply put, the W12 engine is made of two merged V6 units. The result is an internal combustion engine with 12 cylinders and pistons set in a W shape. There are two types of configuration for this motor. The first one uses 3 banks of 4 cylinders, while the other one has 4 rows of 3 cylinders. The rows are united in 2 cylinder banks which actually result in two narrow-angle VR6 engine blocks. In both cases, the engine has one common crankshaft to which the cylinder banks are coupled.

The banks offset eachother and they are usually set to form a 60 degrees angle. The vehicles powered by a W12 unit usually have two exhaust systems as a result of the merging of two V6 engines.

Another good thing about these engines is that some of them have a valve placement that makes them more compact and remarkably more fuel-efficient. This means that the valves are placed on the top of the combustion chambers.

W12 Engine Powered Machines

As you probably know – or as you could have easily guessed – the automobiles using this type of engine are part of the luxury car market. Audi, Bentley, Spyker and Volkswagen use is in some of their most expensive models.

But what is more interesting is the fact that cars are not the only type of engine-powered devices that use W12 units. Some racing aircrafts and speed boats also feature these engines. The Supermarine S.5 Schneider (aircraft) and the Miss Britain III (boat) are two such examples.

Here is a list of some vehicles powered by a W12 engine

  • Audi A8 L W12
  • Spyker C12 La Turbie
  • Spyker C12 Zagato
  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Bentley Continental Flying Spur
  • Volkswagen Phaton W12
  • Volkswagen Touareg W12



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