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A large number of cylinders and a compact design – this was the challenge met by Volkswagen with the design of its W-engines. In a W-engine there are two banks of cylinders in V-formation, which are combined at an angle of 72 degrees to create one engine.

The cylinders in each bank are aligned at an angle of 15 degrees. When two VR6 banks are added together, forming a shorter and narrower unit in comparison with to a pure V-engine, a W-engine is created. The cylinders operate with very slender connecting rods and an extremely short and lightweight crankshaft. One feature of the W-engine is its extremely compact design, which results in savings in materials and weight. For example, a W12-engine has smaller dimensions than a conventional V8.