HomeCar CultureEight Volkswagen concept cars we wish came to life

Eight Volkswagen concept cars we wish came to life

From supercars to super weird, see the VW cars that didn’t make it into production


Volkswagen has debuted its fair share of concept cars over the years, and many have made their way to production, such as the new VW ID.4 from the ID. Crozz, but there are a few that haven’t, despite how cool they may have appeared.

Here are eight VW concept cars that were shown on an auto show floor but then were put away forever:

Italdesign Machimoto

Italdesign Machimoto Volkswagen concept car

Debuted in 1986, this futuristic open-top roadster combined the stylings of a motorcycle, convertible and, weirdly enough, a family car.

It was based on the Golf GTi 16V platform and built with flexible seating for six to nine passengers using tandem motorcycle-style saddle seats. Steering was controlled by a wheel that could transform from a handlebar into a traditional steering wheel.

Resembling an amusement ride test car, passengers were advised to wear a helmet.


Scooter Volkswagen concept car

Also debuting in 1986 was the Scooter concept, which Volkswagen describes as “a nimble, three-wheel, front-wheel drive car with an engine located in the front and a two-door coupe body.”

This featherweight vehicle with gull-wing doors weighed around 1,400 pounds and was capable of putting out 40 horsepower.


Futura Volkswagen concept car
Even then, the Futura concept car from 1989 impressed with numerous high-tech functions and features.

This futuristic mini-van with gull-wing doors debuted in 1989 as an Integrated Research Volkswagen since it was equipped with groundbreaking technology including distance sensors, parking and braking assistance functions, a navigation system, an on-board computer, and an electric parking brake.

Its engine was rated at 82 horsepower and featured an evaporation cooling system and mechanical supercharger.

Many of its elements inspired the features found in the production ID.3 that was shown at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor show.

W12 Nardo

W12 Nardo Volkswagen concept car

This supercar was designed to test a new type of engine, the W-configuration that went on to break records and supply power to VW models and the Bugatti Veyron.

The supercar was introduced as the W12 in 1997 and then re-introduced as the Nardo in 2001. An Italian design team was in charge of designing the car to accommodate VW’s Syncro 4WD system and a 12-cylinder engine in a W-configuration.

The engine was rated at 600 horsepower and pushed the W12 Nardo to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds.

In February 2002, the concept supercar drove 24 hours straight, covering 4,909.8 miles – at the time the furthest any car had traveled in that amount of time.


Magellan Volkswagen concept car

Part car, part SUV and part truck, this concept created in 2002 by Volkswagen’s Design Center in Spain was for outdoor enthusiasts. It features 19-inch wheels, air suspension, a roomy interior that could house 6 passengers, and a removable navigation system dubbed as the “G.P.S. to Go.”


EcoRacer Volkswagen concept car

In 2005, Volkswagen attempted to create the most economical sports car of all time and named it the EcoRacer.

“EcoRacer was a unique looking vehicle with a carbon fiber body and a powerful diesel engine mounted in the middle of the frame that could reach 136 hp and 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, with a top speed of 142 mph,” Volkswagen describes the sports car.

“The roof of the EcoRacer was its most unique feature – the driver could transform the EcoRacer from a coupe into a convertible by removing the hard top and then convert it to a speedster by removing the windscreen and frame,” the automaker notes.

XL Sport

XL Sport Volkswagen concept car

A speed enthusiast’s dream, the 2014 XL Sport was a hyper-efficient sports car equipped with the world’s most powerful 2-cylinder engine, propelling the coupe to 62 miles per hour in just 5.7 seconds.

The car features wing doors hinged at two points that allow passengers to open them both upward and forward.

Atlas Tanoak

Atlas Tanoak Volkswagen concept car

Volkswagen debuted the rugged Atlas Tanoak pickup at the New York International Auto Show in 2018 after hinting for years that it was going to bring a truck to the US market.

Based on an extended-wheelbase from the Atlas SUV, this dual-cab pickup featured a V6 engine, the ubiquitous modular transverse chassis, an 8-speed automatic transmission, and 4Motion all-wheel drive.

Racheal Colbert
Racheal Colbert
An experienced writer and editor, Racheal brings her enthusiasm for collector cars to her role as the Content Manager of the Collector Car Network. Former Content Writer and Marketing Manager in the tech and publishing industry, Racheal brings a fresh perspective to the Journal and the automotive world.


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