By on September 11, 2012

What will the faithful say when the find out that the next Volkswagen Phaeton is based on a Golf platform Audi platform? Like it or not, that’s the way it’s going to be.

Edit: I mixed up the VW platforms. Turns out it will be the longitudinal version rather than the transverse MQB.

Since we live in the era of “economies of scale uber alles“, modular platforms will be one of the best ways to capture the benefits of this phenomenon. Volkswagen’s MQB platform (and MLB, for good measure) should be able to underpin damn near everything in the lineup with its Lego-like architecture.

If Automotive News is correct, the next Phaeton will no longer be a Bentley in drag, but a…well, a Golf Audi in drag. Sort of. British car rags used to mock the Audi TT as a “golf in lingere”, but the MQB/MLB platform will allow for different engine compartments and wheelbases, while one fixed measurement remaining throughout the platform. This is much more sophisticated than badge engineering. And we better get used to it.

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42 Comments on “Volkswagen Phaeton Redux Thanks To Modular Platform...”


  • avatar

    Are there any “faithful” around? I seem to remember Jack Baruth complained about his almost incessantly, and lesser minds than his won’t even consider a “prestige” car that isn’t a Jaguar, Benz or BMW.

    D

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      DD, Jack has gone rogue, and after calling many spades as spades on the warts, mechanical problems (e.g. Intermediate Shaft Bearing failures on Porsches), and many other problems associated with some of those premium marques and and “premium badges,” is persona non grata with at least one of them – **cough**Porsche**cough**.

      I was never aware of any affinity he had for Daimler, at any rate (not even AMG), but I could be wrong.

      I wonder if Jack shares my absolute disgust at BMW’s making its inline 3.0 liter V6 an option on the 3 series.

      Oh well, enough of me speaking/presuming for Jack.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    First, VW built their Phaeton on a Bentley Continental platform (D1), and now they’re building it on a Golf one…

    …Schizophrenia is a bitch.

    What? Who said that? So are you!!!

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    Volkswagen is the *only* car company in the world that can use econobox underpinnings on a luxury car and get away with it without people whining about it. Why is that?

    And I know that with the MQB and MLB age things are not quite comparable to what they used to be, but VW has a rich history of blatant platform sharing – the Audi A1 shares its underpinnings with the Polo, the A3 with the Golf (as well as Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon), and the first generation A4 with the Passat, etc. And yet *nobody* complains that their “premium” Audi hatch is basically a tarted-up VW. But whenever *other manufacturers* engage in similar platform sharing, the customers whine and complain about it ad nauseam as if they’ve been cheated somehow.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s OK when VW does it but so bad when everyone else does.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      VW owners are as loyal to their favorite (and abusive) manufacturer as old Jewish men are to their favorite delis.

      Speaking of which, I still can’t believe they closed Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House in Sunny Isles 4 years ex-post facto.

      Only the chickens needed to be dressed.

      • 0 avatar

        It closed because the clientele is nearly dead. Sage Deli in Aventura made a wicked kosher foot long, and there’s a good one near Hallandale, but on the other side of the Lehman causeway. Can’t remember the name.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Isn’t Epicure Market the noveau Wolfie Cohen place?

        I ate there once, but it lacked any semblance of ambience of an order, sit and eat deli in the traditional sense.

        It wasn’t the one where the Rascal House was located, but I think in Miami Beach?? – (it was back in 2004 or 2005, so Rascal House hadn’t even closed yet).

        So much has changed in south Florida. I don’t even know who serves the gold standard for pastrami on rye anymore.

        Damn, I’m hungry now. Too bad Star Deli is such a haul.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Maybe it’s because VW engineers the econobox platform to have decent ride and handling to begin with, so that when they platform-share it, the result is something decent instead of something laughable. And they tend to make the variations different enough in exterior and interior appearance that you wouldn’t really know that the underpinnings of the two vehicles are the same unless someone told you.

      Counter-example: The Cadillac Cimarron was abysmal because the Cavalier was abysmal – and it looked like a tarted-up Cavalier.

      Setting aside the jabs people have about reliability of VW’s (hasn’t been my experience, but whatever) a Golf is a darn nice vehicle to be in.

      And VW is far from the only manufacturer to platform-share successfully. I used GM to give an example of how to do it wrong … but there really isn’t a whole lot wrong with the GM Epsilon II platform, and that is underneath an awful lot of vehicles that outwardly have little to do with each other.

      As for the original topic … I have my doubts that a vehicle as big as the Phaeton would platform-share with the transverse-engine Golf platform. The longitudinal-engine Audi platform, that I could believe.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The Golf is simply not an econobox. You can take an expensive platform and make it cheaper and get away with it. You cannot tart up crap. And platform sharing is NOT badge-engineering. No one in the real world knows or cares that a Golf and an Audi TT used to be fundamentally the same car. They look completely different, and for the most part feel completely different.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Volkswagen is the *only* car company in the world that can use econobox underpinnings on a luxury car and get away with it without people whining about it.”

      You have it backwards. They take the underpinnings of a near-luxury car, and then reengineer them for economy cars.

      It’s tough to start with something cheap and to upgrade it in order to improve it. It gets easier when you start with something good, and then modify it in order to push down the price point.

      In any case, Audi tends to go longitudinal, while VW goes transverse. These days, they tend to share powertrains, but not the entirety of the rest of the platform. They end up feeling different.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        But keep in mind despite getting the “prestige bump” of being a German brand, the A4 and A6 start at a lower pricepoint than the Lexus IS and Infiniti G, much less the 3 Series and C Class.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      There isn’t anything wrong with badge engineering if it’s done thoughtfully and without being too obvious. For example, even someone who knows nothing about cars can see that Lincoln’s are basically tarted up fords – they look like the same car but with more chrome. You can also see similar things with some old GM products, and the first Lexus that wasn’t the LS. Volkswagen on the other hand is very good at differentiation – ask anyone who knows nothing about cars, and they have no clue that VW owns Porsche or Bentley, and they may not even have a clue about Audi. Plus Audis are gorgeous and besides sharing similarities in line up look nothing like VWs and are clearly well appointed.

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    You have left me in suspense. Which measurement is the one remaining fixed throughout the platform?

    • 0 avatar
      EEGeek

      Interesting article at http://fourtitude.com/news/publish/Features/article_7484.shtml about that.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      The only real fixed point is the distance from the front axle to the pedal box in the cockpit. Otherwise everything else can be modified and changed.

      Better still, it allows for massively more flexible manufacturing where (in theory) you could run a Golf down the same production line as a Seat Leon, Audi A3, Passat, etc.

  • avatar

    I have no beef with vw using one platform in as many applications as possible. This isn’t a badge engineering, but smart reuse of components and clever packaging. There’s no doubt that the new model will have a bespoke interior and not share a single body panel with any other vw model. My guess is that this car will do really well in the China market, where they’re rabid for luxury goods at the moment.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    However it turns out, I hope it’s a lot more reliable that the one they sold here a few years ago. Our 2004 was a wonderful driver when it ran and that wasn’t often.

  • avatar
    th009

    Derek, need to read the stories a little bit more carefully! AN says that A redesigned Phaeton is expected in Europe in 2015 based on the VW Group’s modular LONGITUDINAL architecture.” (caps mine)

    That means the Phaeton will be based on the Audi MLB architecture, not the transverse MQB (as used by Golf and many others). And, yes, DeadWeight, the new Continental GT is also based on MLB.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      MLB was Audi’s baby – and the first foray into the kit model that is being deployed across the entire corporation. Winterkorn, if I’m not mistaken, spearheaded this effort at Audi and the project is what is rumored to have gotten him the top job at VAG.

      MLB is the longitudinal platform, MQB is transverse. It’s been very successful for Audi, underpinning the new A4, A5, A5 Sportback, A6, A7 and A8.

    • 0 avatar
      The Doctor

      No, the “new” Continental is still based on the old D1 platform. That’s why it weighs more than an oil tanker.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Good catch. A Phaeton size car *could* be built using a transverse engine platform instead of a longitudinal engine platform, but it wouldn’t be nearly as nice of a car.

      I’ve seen that the future Bentleys are going to be using the Porsche Panamera rear wheel drive platform, with the engine pushed further back in the platform than the MLB. I’m not sure if that means future Contis or future Brooklands/Mulsanne level cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you for that.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Is that photo of a Phaeton or the US only Passat?

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      Yeah, they look similar, but the C-Pillars and the headlights give the Phaeton away.

      I’m pretty sure the big Phaeton logo beneath the big VW dunkel will be fantastic on the rear of this car.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Is there any reason to think that the next generation Bentleys won’t also be based on the Golf platform?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Yes. I can’t think of any cars that can handle a V8 or W12 engine mounted in the transverse position.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        There have been a bunch of cars with a transverse V8. Don’t think anyone has ever tried it with a 12 cylinder though.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Most Cadillacs made over a twenty year period were transverse V8 powered. No, they couldn’t really handle it once the engines started actually putting out V8-like power. I’m sure VW would love to show off how they could make a W16 powered transverse engined FWD car with Haldex part time AWD that the ugly money of the world would line up for.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        @ajla:

        1) Lamborghini Miura, transverse V12: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_Miura

        2) Cizeta-Moroder V16T, transverse “V16″(!): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cizeta-Moroder_V16T

        HTH!

    • 0 avatar
      The Doctor

      Yes – I believe that Wolfgang Durheimer’s move to head up Bentley and Bugatti was an indication that VW planned to use the Panamera’s platform (or future derivations thereof) for future Bentley cars.

      As for what can be read into his subsequent move to Audi and replacement with Wolfgang Schreiber means is anyone’s guess.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “Is there any reason to think that the next generation Bentleys won’t also be based on the Golf platform?”

      Well, one reason is that Jack Baruth would have a massive heart attack, and VW group cannot afford to lose that great a customer.

  • avatar
    jco

    so.. ok wasn’t the entire appeal of the Phaeton that is *was* a Bentley for like half the money?

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I think that was true, but mostly after the fact. At the time of launch, we were all wondering if VW had lost their effing minds.

  • avatar
    andreroy55

    Lamborghini did a transverse V12 in the Miura.

    Hmmmm, and Lamborghini is now a VW … well, Audi, well … part of the whole group.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    To prove how flexible the MQB platform is I would like to see VW build a version with the front subframe and engine in the back, and the rear subframe in the front.

  • avatar
    NYCER

    If I know VW it’s going to be expensive, like the last (failed) made-for-America Phaeton. And with the short wheelbase of the Golf it will have a choppy ride no matter how they tweak it. Not a detriment in a Golf, but it will be in a car weighing a third more.
    All that said, I don’t see VW taking that route for the new Phaeton.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I bought a 2013 CC. A colleague at work a nice new hotrod S5 convertible. You can buy two of mine for one of his. But a close eye can spot the shared parts (interior knobs, seat switches, etc.). Now, no one ever confuses a CC with an A5, but the VW group does a great job at mixing and matching, and hiding. BTW, my CC gets more design compliments, but isn’t nearly as fun to drive.


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