8 Volkswagen concept cars the world has forgotten

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Once their moment in the spotlight is over, concept cars are often forgotten. But Volkswagen recently reviewed eight of its concepts from the past 30 years, including some pretty unusual ones that the world has forgotten about.

One of the first concepts of the VW retrospective is also one of the strangest. Unveiled in 1986, the Italdesign Machimoto was part motorcycle, convertible and family car, according to VW. Built on a Golf GTI 16V platform, it lacked a roof and doors but featured a steering wheel that could turn into a handlebar.

Sporting a GTI engine producing around 139 hp, the Machimoto was drivable. Passengers were advised to wear helmets.

Volkswagen scooter concept

Also unveiled in 1986, the Scooter was a 3-wheeler with gullwing doors. Weighing just under 1,400 pounds, it was powered by a 40-horsepower engine, which drove the front wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission.

VW seems to have a thing for butterfly doors. The 1989 Futura minivan concept had one, just like the 2005 EcoRacer, a diesel sports car with carbon fiber bodywork and a removable roof that converted the car from a coupe to a speedster. This pre-Dieselgate artifact had 136 hp, allowing 0-62 mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 142 mph, according to VW.

For more serious performance, look no further than the W-12 Nardo. It was a VW supercar first presented in 1997, with a 600 hp W-12 engine, all-wheel drive and 0-100 km / h acceleration in 3.5 seconds. VW continued to develop the Nardo until the early 2000s, but it was never intended for production. Instead, it was used to develop the W-12 engine that would be part of the Bentley lineup, as well as some high-end Audi and VW models.

Concept Volkswagen W-12 Nardo

Concept Volkswagen W-12 Nardo

The 2014 XL Sport offers a somewhat different take on performance. Based on the ultra-efficient Volkswagen XL1, it was fitted with a Ducati 2-cylinder engine developing 197 hp. This pushed the 1,962-pound XL Sport from 0 to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds and to a top speed of 168 mph.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the 2002 Magellan Concept, a three-row SUV with what VW calls “2 + 2 + 2” seats. At the time, such a vehicle seemed overkill for VW, but Magellan predicted the VW Touareg and Atlas.

Speaking of the Atlas, the final concept highlighted here is the Atlas Tanoak pickup, which was unveiled at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. The Tanoak was essentially an Atlas with a bed, from the same way that the Honda Ridgeline shares a base platform with the Pilot. VW has been silent on the possibility of a production version.


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