By on March 29, 2016

Poolshooting 15.08.2010

Just short of ten years ago, I clambered out of a claustrophobia-inducing Lufthansa coach seat in Frankfurt, grabbed my luggage, and headed for the parking garage. I had paid for my own flight — which did not surprise me in the slightest, because I was a cycling journalist at the time, not an automotive one. After a brief disagreement with my wife concerning the likely German phrase for “parking garage,” we found the right building, then the right floor, and finally the right spot. Occupying the spot was a Volkswagen Phaeton not entirely unlike the two that I’d left in my driveway at home. It was a short-wheelbase model with a VR6 and a specification too modest to ever cross the Atlantic, but the relative familiarity of the car and the controls made it slightly easier for me to get used to driving in Germany.

As we headed east and the evening fell in the windshield ahead, the perfect order and strident prosperity of what I’d grown up calling “West Germany” gradually faded, replaced by open fields, small towns, and abandoned concrete cube housing sprouting a decade’s worth of weeds. We were on our way to Dresden — to the ruined cathedral, to the cobblestones, to what Sandra, my bright-red-haired guide, called “the Saxon temperament.” We were headed to Die Gläserne Manufaktur. The Transparent Factory.

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By on September 23, 2014

In the hagiography of automobiles beloved by enthusiasts, the Volkswagen Phaeton is revered as an icon of technological brilliance, rejected in America by a marketplace of Philistines too self-conscious to appreciate its technological brilliance or unmatched discretion. For once, it’s an estimation not entirely divorced from reality.

But given the disastrous results that resulted in a brief, two-year stint for the Phaeton, one would expect that VW of America, which is desperately trying to rebuild their fortunes in the American marketplace, would be gun shy about reviving the Phaeton in America.

Instead, the Volkswagen Group’s terminal insecurity about the Volkswagen brand’s standing in the marketplace has led it to launch a two-pronged attack, with two luxury sedans planned for both China and the United States.

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By on September 23, 2014

1280px-VW_Phaton_(2._Facelift)_–_Frontansicht,_7._Mai_2011,_Düsseldorf

Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000.

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By on September 22, 2014

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If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then Volkswagen has gone certifiably bonkers.

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By on May 20, 2014

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The internet is abuzz with the possibility that the Volkswagen Phaeton might make a return to the United States – with a cheaper price point as well. Unfortunately, it’s a terrible idea. But not for the reason you might think.

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By on July 17, 2013

VW_Phaton_(2._Facelift)_–_Frontansicht,_7._Mai_2011,_Düsseldorf (1)

Having failed to learn from previous mistakes, Volkswagen is inexplicably bringing the Phaeton back to North America, despite being totally contradictory to their push downmarket to appeal to mainstream American car shoppers.

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By on March 21, 2013

A vow of celibacy? Threatening to cut someone’s throat at a race track? Flowing locks? No, silly. They both love the Volkswagen Phaeton.

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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.

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By on February 7, 2012

The Volkswagen Phaeton is supposed to be the definition of understated refinement, a Patek Calatrava in a world gone mad for Hublot Big Bangs. Someone in Toronto, Canada didn’t get the memo.

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