4 VW Concepts We Wish Had Made It

Not every great idea can be fully realized. Just ask Volkswagen. Despite these cars never hitting the production line, we still wish we could get behind the wheel of these top-tier concepts.

Volkswagen W12 Coupe

W12 Nardo Concept

The closest most people ever got to driving a W12 was in the popular video game Grand Turismo. However, this coupe did indeed hit the streets and set some speed records in the process.

Why We Liked It

Not only could the W12 Coupe fly at blazing speeds, but it added some style to the equation, too. The slick body and curved hood gave way to wing doors, and drivers were treated to color coded leather and finished trimmings. The original W12 Syncro concept debuted in 1997 from Volkswagen’s ItalDesign and boasted a 420 hp, 5.6-liter W-12 engine. The W12 Roadster followed in 1998, and 2001 brought the last version of the supercar, called the Nardo. The latter could go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds thanks to its 6.0-liter W12 engine and 591 hp. Volkswagen took the Nardo to its namesake track in Italy, where it set the 24-hour endurance speed record, going 4810 miles and averaging over 200 mph.

Why It Didn’t Make It

Using the word “failed” alongside the W12 Coupe is a little misleading, because it didn’t fail. In the end, the W12 did what it was meant to. Then Volkswagen CEO Ferdinand Piech had tasked his ItalDesign team with designing a sports car with a 12-cylinder engine to prove they could build a supercar to compete with the best of them. With a price tag near $200,000, it really wasn’t meant for broad appeal.

Volkswagen Microbus Concept

Microbus Concept

In the early 2000s, Volkswagen went with the tried and true concept of taking something immensely popular and making it smaller. It worked for M&M’s and cell phones, so why not take a chance on the VW Microbus?

Why We Liked It

On the heels of the new Beetle’s success in 1998, VW rolled out the Microbus at 2001’s Detroit Auto Show. Armed with a ceiling-mounted LCD screen, motorized sliding doors, a backup camera and swivel seats, the Microbus hosted many features that wouldn’t become standard until years later. And besides that, this concept was just plain cool. Building from the flower-power nostalgia of the original Bus, VW was ramping up for a new generation of cult vehicles.

Why It Didn’t Make It

In short, VW got cold feet.

After announcing they’d produce 80,000 units annually by 2005, the launch was deferred then formally cancelled in 2005. Volkswagen instead opted to produce the Routan minivan, which was discontinued after the 2014 model year. However, VW hasn’t given up on the concept altogether. In late 2011, the automaker introduced another minibus concept called the Bulli, and in 2016 announced the BUDD-e electric microbus. Will we ever see a VW microbus hit the production line? Only time will tell. In the meantime, cross your fingers and eat some schnitzel for good German karma.

Volkswagen GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo

GTI Concept

There has been exactly one GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo produced, with no plans to make more in the future. Volkswagen focused on what they could do, instead of what they should do, and came up with something special.

Why We Liked It

You know what’s cool? This thing was designed for the video game Gran Turismo 6. No, seriously—imagine thinking up a concept completely over the top, made for use inside a fictional universe, then actually making it. Packed with a 3.0 liter V6 and 503 hp, the 3,133 pound roadster can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 192. Through it all, VW sculpted a furious and fun supercar with slick design and modern vision.

Why It Didn’t Make It

The GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo didn’t make it in our reality because it was meant for virtual reality. Though probably the coolest concept on the list, you’ll most likely need a video game console to drive this one. In the meantime, there’s this video showing that it does exist, and another showing what it can do in a video game.

Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

Blue Sport Concept

Many consider the Concept BlueSport to be one of VW’s best ideas of the 2000s. This mid-engined roadster debuted at the 2009 North American International Auto Show and immediately turned heads—so what happened to it?

Why We Liked It

The BlueSport immediately created buzz on the show floor. It would be the first rear wheel drive VW in years, and it was meant to be an affordable, lightweight no-nonsense sports car instead of the over-the-top supercars in production today. With as much as 180 hp and a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds, this 2-seater promised fun in a fashionable shell.

Why It Didn’t Make It

For years, VW teased the BlueSports’ production. It was like an on and off relationship that never fully materialized. One magazine reported that it was on schedule for production in 2011 and was to share a platform with an Audi and a Porsche. However, that plan was canceled before the year’s end. But in 2012, it was again reported that the BlueSport was in pre-production and was looking for find a global market for 40,000 to 50,000 BlueSports a year. However, in fall of 2015, VW announced once and for all that launching a small, affordable sports car was off the table.