By on September 25, 2014

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Ah, the Volkswagen Phaeton. Everyone has an opinion about it. It epitomized Piech’s hubris. It is an unmarketable $100,000 Passat. It is essentially a Bentley Continental Flying Spur, but without the bling. It is the greatest car man has ever conceived.

Like Alfa Romeo, there’s always a rumor that the Phaeton 2.0 will be returning to the U.S. of A. in “a few years”. Again, this week, there is a lot of talk about it coming back.

There is a lot of conjecture and Monday morning quarterbacking about the Phaeton. But what is it really like to own one? TTAC’s own Jack Baruth had two. I, a new TTAC contributor, also owned one. I thought it would be fun to answer questions you have always had about the Phaeton. So ask away!

Just to give you a little bit of a back story, I bought a pristine 2005 V8 with barely 30,000 miles in 2011. Its previous, and only, owner was a car collector in Arizona. I had a blast owning it. Sure, I worried about catastrophic failure of the transmission or air suspension that would send me to the poor house, but it never happened. I sold it in 2013 to a local car enthusiast. I had no plans of selling it, but the buyer approached me and offered to buy it for pretty much what I bought it for back in 2011. A friendship was formed and he keeps me updated on our baby.

Some Phaeton trivia I picked up along the way include:

  • The HVAC system contains 25 servomotors to create four distinct climate zones in the cabin.
  • The instrument cluster glass reflects just 0.5% of light, compared to 8%, which is typical for regular instrument cluster glass.
  • Phaeton owners are among the most anal retentive. So many complained to Volkswagen about the uneven rate at which its ashtrays popped out, VW issued a Technical Service Bulletin to remedy the “problem”.

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What questions do you have about owning a Phaeton?

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158 Comments on “AMA About My Phaeton Ownership Experience...”


  • avatar
    rpol35

    Why?

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      This is the toughest question, as I could go on for hours to explain. I wanted something rare. I wanted something that had historical significance. I wanted an over-engineered German sedan, akin to what Mercedes made in the 1970s and 1980s, before the bean counters took over. And I wanted a V8, which I had never owned before.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        Jim – I was a bit short with my question but it sums up my thoughts about this car, I could never figure out its real goal or target market, it seemed very blurred to me. The fact that it didn’t work in the market place tells me that many others were asking the same “Why” question. Thanks for your answer.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “What questions do you have about owning a Phaeton?”

    Why not get an A8?

    I mean that seriously, not facetiously.

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      Because a used A8 still cost an arm and a leg for the initial purchase. Even 5 yo A8’s with 90k miles are over $50,000. At least ones that are in mint condition.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      Because I see about two to three A8s on the street every week. I see two to three Phaetons every year.

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      Because it takes minimal imagination to drop the coin on the A8, 7-series, or S-class. Foregoing these in favor of the Phaeton makes just the right “statement” for certain individuals able to shop in this segment (“I have money and want a really nice car, but feel secure enough to eschew conspicious displays of this fact and prefer instead to quietly enjoy the amenities of a $200k car for less than half the price – one doesn’t get truly rich by wantonly spending after all.”)

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Because it takes minimal imagination to drop the coin on the A8, 7-series, or S-class. Foregoing these in favor of the Phaeton makes just the right “statement” for certain individuals able to shop in this segment (“I have money and want a really nice car, but feel secure enough to eschew conspicious displays of this fact and prefer instead to quietly enjoy the amenities of a $200k car for less than half the price – one doesn’t get truly rich by wantonly spending after all.”)”

        IMO, this pretend display of anti-consumerism is far more narcissistic and arrogant than just buying/leasing a damn A8/S/7 in the first place, because it purports to assume that other people give a damn about what you buy. Unless you’re the only owner of a $100k car in the middle of nowhere, no one cares, no one’s impressed, get over yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          b787

          Actually it isn’t. If A8/S/7 were better than Phaeton, I would agree with you, but that is not the case.

        • 0 avatar
          usernamealreadyregistered

          “IMO, this pretend display of anti-consumerism is far more narcissistic and arrogant than just buying/leasing a damn A8/S/7 in the first place, because it purports to assume that other people give a damn about what you buy. Unless you’re the only owner of a $100k car in the middle of nowhere, no one cares, no one’s impressed, get over yourself.”

          Understated luxury is not a pretend display of anti-consumerism. It’s about being fortunate enough to enjoy goods that bring some incremental earthly pleasure without rubbing everyone else’s nose in it. An attractive person who dresses modestly isn’t pretending to be ugly; a brilliant person who speaks cautiously isn’t pretending to be stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      celebrity208

      This Jan I bought an ’05 A8L with 78kmi for $17k. I then immediatly put $3k into it because the previous owner didn’t do the 75kmi service (timing belt, etc.).

      Love the car. I can adjust the seat however I like WITH a large rear facing car seat behind me. LOVE THAT. My wife can nearly STEP into the back while on the freeway to tend to _______ (fill in the blank w/r/t a crying child, food, toys, pacifier, etc.). I can fit a week’s worth of 1st time parents packing into the trunk with room for another month’s worth of gear.

      Have not been in, let-alone owned, a Phaeton so I can’t compare. My A8L is based on the D3 platform. Per wikipedia the Paheton is based on the D2 platform. Someone else will have to state whether that means anything.

      • 0 avatar
        celebrity208

        BTW, the $3k service was known going into the purchase and used as negotiating leverage. And I’d have edited my own post to say as much if the editor would have loaded.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @celebrity

        Thank you for this. As somebody considering a slightly used S class/A8, I love hearing as many different accounts about these things as I can, until I can convince myself that I can afford to do this.

        • 0 avatar
          bosozoku

          Can you afford to set aside $2-3k/year of ownership for unscheduled issues (on top of insurance, fuel, and regular maintenance)? If so, then you can afford it. If not, then it’s probably worth looking at a Lexus LS instead, even if the initial price is higher.

  • avatar
    TorontoSkeptic

    How did you feel about the exterior resembling a last-gen Hyundai Sonata? Obviously the interior is gorgeous but this is the most low-key $100k car I’ve ever seen.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      I enjoy the stealthiness. I grew up in Orange County, where it was all about brands (LV bags, big Mercs, etc.). The Phaeton is just so anonymous looking. In my excitement to find fellow Phaeton owners, I have mistaken Avalons and Buicks for Phaetons. The exterior is certainly dull looking, especially the front. But when you stand next to one, the sheer hulking mass of it tells you this is a special car.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It’s one of the best looking, business class (executive) sedans of the last 30 years.

        Some will opine that it’s bland, but I find it muscular, serious and devoid of a mashup of tacked on gingerbread & awkward curves (for the sake of curves) that look extraneous, artificial, gauche & tacked on “just because (*cough*Mercedes C63AMG*cough*AstonMartin).

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I think the D2 A8 and S8 were better looking than this, if only because they didn’t reek of Passat.

          Also, most of the Phaetons I’ve seen have been that incredibly boring (and already dated) blue-green color.

        • 0 avatar
          TorontoSkeptic

          It’s amazing, I find myself agreeing with you on almost everything you post related to bigger life issues (financial priorities, debt, paying for quality) but completely disagreeing on all things automotive. I love the swoopy styling and think the current-gen Maxima is beautiful. The Phaeton is dead dull – and I get it, that’s the point, it’s too cool for that.

          I also dislike the Durango and don’t even get me started on the Chrysler 300. To me the Avalon is the dream full-size sedan (and believe it or not I’m under 40).

          On the positive side I hate the Cadillac ATS so maybe we can still be friends!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It’d perhaps had been better had I made a disclaimer that I find this to be beautifully styled given its intended mission in life and targeted buyer demographic.

            For better or worse, I couldn’t envision an upper deck exec pulling up for a formal business meeting in a SL65-AMG anymore than I could see them pulling up in a circa-2005 WRX STi (with giant spoiler/wing).

            This is perhaps superficial of me, however, and hypocritical also, since I believe people should disregard what others think about their rides (unlike Bark M, who is all up into that).

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “For better or worse, I couldn’t envision an upper deck exec pulling up for a formal business meeting in a SL65-AMG anymore than I could see them pulling up in a circa-2005 WRX STi (with giant spoiler/wing).”

            I could see the SL65 AMG. In fact, I can imagine top level execs from just about any industry arriving in that.

            The winged STI not so much.

            FWIW, didn’t Steve Jobs have an SL65 AMG as a daily driver?

        • 0 avatar
          TorontoSkeptic

          See, in Toronto that whole “downscale, dignified and quiet wealth” doesn’t fly anymore. Think America circa 2006. Escalades are cool (hey Rob Ford drives one). Panameras are better. Ferrari FFs (look it up, it’s hilarious and makes the Panamera look respectable) are better still.

          Juvenile coupes might not be strictly acceptable, but if you’re a nouveau-riche mining executive, stock scam pump-and-dump artist or “real estate entrepreneur”, what do you care what people think?

          • 0 avatar
            bosozoku

            “stock scam pump-and-dump artist or “real estate entrepreneur”, what do you care what people think?”

            Aren’t appearances everything to these guys? That is, projecting the image of success is what begets the confidence of others, and therefore actually “success”.

            Rational people see someone in a professional/service field driving something that costs more than the average 4-bedroom house and balk at the idea of helping with those lease payments. Others however, foolishly interpret such a vehicle as a sign of wealth, stature, and competence. Fake it until you make it, right?

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Rational people see someone in a professional/service field driving something that costs more than the average 4-bedroom house and balk at the idea of helping with those lease payments. Others however, foolishly interpret such a vehicle as a sign of wealth, stature, and competence.”

            It really depends. I got into a conversation with my daughter’s pediatrician one day, because there was an M6 Gran Coupe in the parking lot and I asked if it was his. He kinda sighed, and said “yeah, I guess I’ll admit it.” I basically said “hey man, I’m here because I want you to take care of my daughter, I hope you make a good living doing that! I don’t begrudge you any of your success.” And that’s how I feel. Do I assume someone with a flashy car is the best? No, of course not, but I also don’t assume they’re the worst, or that I’m over paying for their services. To judge them that way is foolish. In this guy’s case, he’s got no kids (pretty ure he’s gay, actually) and owns his practice. And maybe his car is his big indulgence. Makes him no better or worse than the whatever midrange SUV his business partner drives. To presume one knows another’s entire financial situation* based on their car is dumb, so I would never hire or not hire a person based on the car they drive.

            *I drive a nicer car than almost everyone at my level at work. I’m able to do that because I’m pretty much the only one with a working spouse, eveyone else is single or has a non-working or non-professional working spouse. Nothing right or wrong with any of that, but it means I can afford a little nicer car. I’m also the only one who gives a crap about having a nicer car.

        • 0 avatar
          akatsuki

          Well, before the Spindle grill, I’d say an LS was devoid of all that too. And kind of bland.

          I’ve looked at a Phaeton, and it is really nicely built. Certainly better than the Germans. About on par with the Lexus LS with the exception of those lovely Campagnolo hinges and a couple other stray items.

      • 0 avatar
        slirt

        “In my excitement to find fellow Phaeton owners, I have mistaken Avalons and Buicks for Phaetons.”

        Half the time i think i see a Phaeton it turns out to be a Buick Lucerne! The size, shape, and badging are VERY similar in all cases.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Be fair now. The exterior is reminiscent of a B5 Passat, which to some people (myself included) is a good thing.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    We understand that it was designed to be the most sophisticated automobile in the world.

    1) Is it really that good?
    2) What about reliability? Is it Aston/Lambo reliable or Lexus reliable?
    3) What about parts costs? VW cost or Bentley costs?
    4) Can a regular VW dealer service it?
    5) Would it be a cost effective purchase for someone looking to buy a used ‘luxury’ vehicle? What would be more reliable and durable a Phaeton or a 5-series or an E-class (or even a Jag) assuming that they are near the same price point.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      1) Yes!
      2) Somewhere in the middle, like Merc/BMW/Audi reliable.
      3) I don’t know how much Bentley parts cost, but I would hazard to guess that the Phaeton’s parts cost a bit more than Passat/Jetta parts, but not substantially more.
      4) No, only select dealerships with certified techs and the proper equipment can handle it. Now that it has been a decade since the last Phaetons were sold here, even those dealerships have remodeled their service bays and can no longer accommodate Phaetons.
      5) I really don’t have an opinion on which is more reliable. I think a lot of it just depends on how well the previous owner(s) took care of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Jim, I think you hit it on the head – it’s all about how well maintained the car was. And I’d be willing to surmise that Phaetons might be better cared for than, say, older S-class Benzes.

        After all, that 10 year old S-class that sells for a price that an average guy can finance has probably had several owners. The first one bought it on lease, got all the maintenance tossed in for free, and chucked it in when the lease was up. The second one bought it as a CPO and drove it for 5-6 years until it got too expensive to fix. And then we have the third owner, who drives on the lot with an Accord, and trades it on the now 10-year-old Benz that he can get financed for. He’s blissfully unaware that unlike his old Accord, you can’t drive the wheels off an old S-class Mercedes with low or minimal maintenance. He soon finds out he can’t make the payment AND keep up with the repair bills, so he chucks it in, with all kinds of maintenance issues that went unresolved. And that’s where the heartache begins for the next owner.

        The difference between that scenario and a Phaeton is pretty simple: I’d bet that the Phaeton owner isn’t stepping up to a car he can barely afford to pay for because it’s a VW.

  • avatar
    Car-los

    Jim why don’t you write a full review on how was it like to own a Phaeton and then we can ask question on any aspect that each of us thought your review didn’t cover. I certainly think it would be very interesting to hear a full review.

    Any way my questions at the moment would be:

    Was it really like owning a Bentley? Does it feel more like a Bentley or like an Audi or indeed a Passat?

    Were the servicing bills to expensive?

    Is it true that the VW dealerships weren’t to familiar with the car when it came to servicing it since not so many were sold? And would they, therefore take for ever to get the any needed spare parts?

    If the opportunity would arise would you get another one?

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      I always thought Audi was about feeling nothing in particular – vehicular vicodin.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      I have written about it extensively on my blog Tamerlane’s Thoughts and on Hooniverse. I wanted to share with you original content so I thought I’d do an AMA today.

      Personally, it felt like driving a Bentley. But I’ll tell you a story. I went to an upscale restaurant with valet parking. The valets parked a Bentley right up front, for all the diners to see. I gave them the keys to my Phaeton, and they parked it around the corner, next to a Sentra. Heathens!

      As for servicing costs, it’s no more expensive than an S-Class Merc or BMW 7-Series. Here is a spreadsheet for a year’s worth of work.
      http://hooniverse.com/2012/10/29/a-years-worth-of-vw-phaeton-running-costs/

      Only a select few VW dealerships had the special tools and training to work on Phaetons. Personally, I believe dealerships gave Phaeton owners a hard time because Phaeton owners are so demanding and brought their cars back multiple times for the smallest of complaints, the dealerships intentionally or subconsciously drove owners away.

      Luckily, my local Shell station worked on four local Phaetons (including a W12). They were wonderful and loved working on the car.

      The only time I had to wait for a part was when a large tumbleweed hit my driver’s side rear view mirror. The $1,200 unit had to be ordered from Germany and took about a week.

      I’m done with Phaetons. I loved it, but it was time for me to move on. It was just so large and impractical.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Oh come now, it’s not that large. I never had any problems swinging my A8L into a parking space. It felt the same to park as a GS, and easier to park than my M.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Jim,

        I could not get the link to work. Could you just give us a quick rundown of what you needed to do to the car in the time you had it, and the costs?

      • 0 avatar
        celebrity208

        “I’m done with Phaetons. I loved it, but it was time for me to move on. It was just so large and impractical.”

        That’s what I love about it. I was only looking for large sedans and M35/M45s, A8Ls, DTSs, etc were easier to find than Phaetons. What you like about the rarity I didn’t like, when searching for one to buy. After narrowing it down to the VAG options (Phaeton or A8L) there were just more A8s to choose from than Phaeton.

      • 0 avatar
        steevkay

        I had no idea tumbleweeds could cause that much damage; I thought they were just sticks/grass that mingled together but were mostly just air. I don’t think I’ve ever seen tumbleweeds in real life (I live in Ottawa).

        That aside, I love the Phaeton. There’s something I love about nutty cars like this, and I like the fact that it looks like a VW but drives like a Bentley/Audi. It’s even cooler when you see a W12 model; that’s the one I want. It’s just so unnecessary, but so awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        Car-los

        Thank you Jim, it was very kind of you to take the time to answer my questions. I’m going to check the link you mentioned. All the best, Carlos.

  • avatar

    I did a quick search on eBay Motors, there are plenty of V8s under 10 grand and W12s under 20. My initial fears are of catastrophic maintenance costs obviously.
    Heck, I guess I’d just like to hear more about the overall ownership and driving experience. (The VW name is likely an insurmountable kiss of death for any luxury pretensions that VW Group may have. Not that it matters to me if the car is a good one)

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      I continue to look at prices of Phaetons. I think if you want the best example with the smallest chance of breakdown, but one from 2005 or 2006. The 2004 has an air suspension system whereby if one corner goes, you have to replace all four corners (at $2,500 per corner). I also don’t like the wheels from the ’04 model.

      For 2005 or 2006 models, buy one with the lowest miles possible. One to two previous owners, max. And make sure there is a stack of comprehensive maintenance records. If you can find something with less than 75,000 babied miles, you may have found a winner.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think the W12 would just be a “find parts here or there” nightmare.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Why? The engine is made up of parts used all over VAG. It’s not like it was only ever used in the Phaeton either. I would expect that some things are VERY expensive, but I doubt any of them are hard to find in this day and age. Worst case, it comes from Germany and takes a week.

          While I would have no fear of owning one of these, you would have to be an idiot to have it as your ONLY car, if you need to depend on a car every day. But that holds equally true for anything remotely exotic or even just rare. Heck for that matter my Mom’s Prius spent the better part of a week sitting at the dealer while they figured out an issue with it.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Clarkson absolutely adored the Phaeton.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I own an LS430 but I’ve driven the Phaeton. Maybe I can throw in my impressions.

    Both have superb ride quality. There’s nothing like road hugging curb weight, a long wheelbase, and an air suspension to smooth out the roads. The Phaeton does thump a lot more on road strips. The effects of the adjustable suspension is more noticeable on the LS than the Phaeton.

    Seat comfort on both are equally good. The best reason to choose a flagship sedan over a full size luxury SUV is still rear seat comfort. The Phaeton has noticeably more rear legroom. The LS has a driver’s side crotch vent, just like those old GM’s. It makes a difference.

    Noise levels are very close, but I think the LS is the quieter car when cruising. The Phaeton has a pleasant V8 rumble under acceleration, but the LS V8 sounds like the world’s strongest Laserdisc spindle motor and is quieter under acceleration. The Phaeton felt like you had to smash the pedal often to get any responsive acceleration.

    Ergonomics, no contest, LS wins hands down. The touchscreen works instantly, and rivals UConnect for ergonomics. Everything is easy to find. I was never able to figure out the Phaeton’s navigation controls, and the tiny screen was placed way down in the console.

    The Phaeton had better interior materials, even if it looks dated now. But I would have dreaded it if any buttons or servos stopped working. The LS’s interior is timeless like the rest of the car and will still look great 10 years from now, but it mixes semi-aniline leather with cheapo vinyl in some areas. The LS has a bigger trunk, but the Phaeton’s is better shaped to carry things and was beautifully lined. The trunk hinges looked impressive yet fragile on the Phaeton.

    As to which car I would own and recommend to others, I don’t think there’s any question. The Lexus occupies the buy-and-hold-because-we-made-this-car-to-last-forever niche that the older S-Classes did decades ago.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    What is the NAV/infotainment system like to use? I’ve read that it was basically an obsolete system when the car launched, and was borderline unusable. Did you just stick a Garmin on the windshield?

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    How many times did you masturbate while pretending your car was the nouveau riche Bentley?

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      Ha!

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Thanks for having a sense of humor about it. I got no beef with the people who like the Phaeton for the engineering marvel that it is, it’s the “I want you to be impressed by the fact I’m trying hard to look like I’m not trying hard to impress you” crowd that gives this car a bad name. And they’re usually not Phaeton owners, they’re the lessors of base A4s who congratulate themselves on looking the part of “young professionals” by driving base A4s.

        • 0 avatar
          Jim Yu

          No worries.

          I can assure you, my Phaeton ownership failed to impress 99.99% of the people I came across. And trust me, I tried hard to impress people by telling them all the crazy features of the car. No one was interested. It was just a bulbous Volkswagen to them.

          Now if I drove a new CLA, people will turn heads, as I have arrived!

          • 0 avatar
            BMWnut

            Any chance of an article detailing all those crazy features? I have always wondered just what the juicy details were regarding the “staggering attention to detail,” to paraphrase a certain British journalist. I promise that I will be impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Chris has been on a roll. It’s been a neck bearded wagons and Bentley self gratification sort of a week.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    What are you replacing the Phaeton with?

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      Volvo V50 T5 with a manual transmission. And I love it!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        How does it feel to step down into something so… pleeb and normal?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          A manual P1 Volvo is normal Corey?

          I think you’ve still got eyes for VW Mr. Yu, as the V50 closely resembles a Jetta Wagon, IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Compared to a Phaeton, any Volvo is normal*.

            *Unless it’s a rare S90 or an S80 AWD T6 Inscription, maybe. Or a pristine Bertone.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yeah I’ve dealt with both. S90 can be in theory be “fixed” by swapping out the 2.9 for something else. You can’t really “fix” an S80, esp when the T6 and AWD system get beyond the point of no return. I was bearish on a MY04 T6 AWD which had all records, fluid changes, and was pristine but this was partially because he wanted alot for it (7K).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So you’d rather have an A8 to an S80?

            Other note: I have never been able to confirm the S90 was actually sold in the US, nor have I seen one for sale.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            S90 was sold here, I have worked on them, I almost bought one in 2012. The S90 is simply the 960 by another name.

            “A8 to an S80”

            Hitler/Stalin argument. I would consider a P2 S80 if it came as FWD only (which do exist). Otherwise between the two I’d have to do more research on which will hurt my net worth less at the shop. In theory the S80, in theory…

            Motor/drivetrain parts are pricy for both, but junkyard S80 parts are much cheaper and more plentiful and A8s.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have toyed with the idea of this S90 but the condition seems avg to rough. He’s been trying to sell it for months and keeps going down in price. If I had 5K to blow, this might make a nice swap candidate if the trans/undercarriage are not shot to hell.

            http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/4650036514.html

            Actually Corey here’s a winter beater for you in the “Campus” region of Columbus:

            07 Volvo S40 (P1) blown motor with salvage title.

            https://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/4677342450.html

            This yard in Columbus has what should be a matching motor for $1700

            2005
            Engine
            Volvo 40 Series S40 2.4,EFI,5 spd 89,034 A 022755 $1700 Universal Auto Parts & Salvage, LLC USA-OH(Columbus) E-mail 1-866-299-6900 160

            Nickle the S40 owner for $700, install the motor for prob 32ish, and you’ve got a new Volvo beater for 4K.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Now correct me if I’m wrong but I thought th S90 had all sorts of special luxury options – rear bucket seats, fridge, tv, console, etc, which the 960 didn’t have. I also thought the S90 was longer.

            As for the A8, I’d definitely prefer that beautiful 4.2 to anything in the Volvos. Arguably it looks better, and is certainly larger, has a better AWD system, and actually gets better MPG.

            You won’t have tranny issues in the A8, but maybe more likely to have like MAF problems or random electrical issues. Some (unusual) of the parts are hard to find, or only come in an expensive “kit,” like the fuel sending unit on mine. 95% of stuff isn’t hard to get.

            I don’t have experience buying Volvo parts though, always been too scared to own a Volvo.

            That S90 would be too far gone for me, even at $1000 – sounds like a money pit! And the interior isn’t good.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The Volvo S90 (and V90) were sold in the US only for the ’98 model year. They were completely identical to the ’97 960 in every way but badge. No shortage of them running around Portland (Maine), just like every other Volvo. I almost bought a V90 a few years ago actually.

            I fail to see anything that needs fixing with a late Volvo 2.9L I6 either. Perfectly fine engine as long as you change the timing belt on-time. It won’t suffer neglect like a redblock Volvo engine, but what will?

            I will say having owned a ’93 965, that the earlier 201hp version of the 2.9 is a lot more fun. They changed the cams to move the torque peak lower in ’95, took a lot of the spirit out of it. Probably better day to day, but they changed it from a revver to a slogger.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            The S90 is not longer although there may have been a LWB variant I’ve just never seen stateside. There was a limo but I’ve along seen pictures.

            In my case, the S80 would probably be much cheaper to own despite design flaws given my relationship to a Volvo indy and the fact the AWD and FWD variants share most parts. The Audi might be the better experience though if I must have AWD though.

            If I was looking for a true Volvo RWD experience though Corey, 944 Turbo 5 spd or 244/5 Turbo 5spd.

            @krhodes1

            If Redblock is the standard of the period, than any step down takes one into the “average” world. The 2.9 AFAIK can be kept going but as you point out it cannot tolerate a high level of abuse, and thus picking them up fifteen years after the fact is much riskier than a comparable Redblock. The S90 I had an opportunity on was in excellent condition but it was also pricy at the time. If I could find a decent but not destroyed 960/S90 for not much coin, I would consider a swap but to what I’m not sure (maybe a Toyota motor if it would fit).

        • 0 avatar
          Jim Yu

          I’m not afraid of getting any dings on the body panels, that’s for sure.

  • avatar

    What does AMA mean? I’m guessing “Author meets audience”?

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    Are you insane?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Hi!

    Was your car ever complimented at a gas station/stop light/parking lot?

    Follow up question: Did the “complimenter” know what a Phaeton was?

    I guess this question applies both to you, Jack, and any other past or present “Phowners” out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      Not once.

    • 0 avatar
      asummers

      I’ve had a Phaeton for 5.5 years and I’ve never received any compliments on the exterior of the car. Anyone who rides in it is impressed, but otherwise is is anonymous. I have had 2 customers (out of thousands) who have recognized it in the parking lot and knew what it was. Oh, and one local police officer who pulled me over asked about it before writing the citation.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I don’t understand all the negativity. A guy bought a car because he thought it was cool and interesting. This is a car blog, you’d think people would embrace that sort of attitude.

    But, do many here don’t. Then why are you here? I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      What you like means nothing. It’s whether it matches what they like that matters.

      Like that Toyota? That’s a paddlin’.
      Like automatic transmissions? That’s a paddlin’.
      Like CUVs? Oh, that’s definitely a paddlin’.

  • avatar
    sproc

    I’ll admit, I actually followed a W12 Phaeton around several blocks of downtown Silver Spring, MD last month. In my head, it was like seeing a modern-day Duesenburg or Pierce-Arrow. Not so much for my amazingly patient wife.

    $1200 for a replacement mirror?!? I suppose it compares favorably with the Hubble, but not much else.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “I’ll admit, I actually followed a W12 Phaeton around several blocks of downtown Silver Spring, MD last month. In my head, it was like seeing a modern-day Duesenburg or Pierce-Arrow.”

      Wut.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        @S2k Chris

        You don’t like the Phaeton and don’t understand why anybody else would. We get it. We got it a long time ago. Let it go.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          I’ve got no beef with the Phaeton (well, I do think it’s kinda ugly inside and out). My beef is with the crazed fanbois who talk about it like its God’s chariot because it’s a steel A8 in an off the rack suit. Come on, “felt like I was seeing a Duesy or Pierce-Arrow”? What’s an S550, a Bugatti Royale? It’s a cool car, I’m just sick of listening to the fans jack each other off about it.

          The other day I saw two 500Es playing in traffic. You don’t hear me creaming about it, and they’re infinitely cooler.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, it’s a cool car, by your own admission, provokes a lot of interest and doubts, not to mention it might be coming back. I’m curious, just what would you like to read about?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Chris, you’ve always struck me much more as a Jalopnik type person vs a TTAC type one, though.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Well, it’s a cool car, by your own admission, provokes a lot of interest and doubts. I’m curious, just what would you like to read about?”

            I have no problem reading about it, I just want people to be rational about what it is. And it ain’t a Pierce-Arrow.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Chris, you’ve always struck me much more as a Jalopnik type person vs a TTAC type one, though.”

            Jalopnik doesn’t appear correctly on my employer’s ancient IE 7.0 browser ;)

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Chris, that wasn’t in any way intended as an insult, btw.

            You’ve struck me as more of an aspirational Gen Yer versus a slightly (or more so) cynical Xer (or even boomer).

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Chris, that wasn’t in any way intended as an insult, btw.

            You’ve struck me as more of an aspirational Gen Yer versus a slightly (or more so) cynical Xer (or even boomer).”

            None taken :)

            I’m 32, born in ’82, so early Y/late X depending on who you ask. Old enough to still have gotten a decent job out of college, young enough to get one that didn’t come with stock options.

            Would it surprise you to hear I wandered here having gotten myself banned a couple times a vwvortex, my old timesump? Hence a little knee-jerk tendency to give it a little extra hard to the vw/audi fancrowd. It’s a shame the honda boards are so slow and populated with idiots. I once almost got banned from Acurazine for flaming the crap outta some guy who bragged endlessly about turning his TSX into a JDM-spec Accord. “check out my awesome JDM dipstick and gas lid sticker, y0!” I’m not even kidding.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            @S2k Chris >Would it surprise you to hear I wandered here having gotten myself banned a couple times a vwvortex, my old timesump?

            Ah, methinks this may be the source of your angst.

            Now feel free to relax on the couch and share your feelings with Dr. TTAC…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That compares favorably with a 3-series, or any other modern car with powered, folding, auto-dimming side mirrors. Just the auto-dimming heated glass for my car is something like $700 from the dealer.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Mr. Yu,

    I find it impressive you were able to get in and out of the trade at almost the precise points in order to afford (and enjoy) the experience while not suffering the financial ramifications of further depreciation and inevitable repairs which over time will meet or exceed the value of the car. I’ll show some contrast below:

    MY05 Phaeton V12

    01/25/13 PA Regular $14,250 103,595 Avg WHITE 12G P No

    MY05 Phaeton V8

    05/06/14 ST LOUIS Regular $8,400 99,558 Above SILVER 8G A Yes
    06/23/14 NC Regular $7,800 108,215 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
    07/24/14 FRDKBURG Regular $6,600 119,838 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
    07/31/14 ST PETE Regular $6,200 144,069 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
    09/09/14 ARENA IL Regular $5,400 129,783 Below GRAY 8G A Yes
    09/10/14 SF BAY Regular $7,900 100,562 Avg WHITE 8G A Yes

    So the V8 at Fredericksburg for 66 bucks, a major repair will meet or exceed the purchase price. Then how much longer until the next major repair or service starts to cost you more than you already paid for it? Pity for all of the attention to detail and nice features the model still sounds like disposable psedo-luxo crap, unlike the comparable LS4xx which really is made to stand the test of time and hundreds of thousands of miles as evidenced by the five below which sold at or near $10K. Nearly double the miles but nearly double the valuation of a comparable MY05 Phaeton.

    MY05 Lex LS430

    09/18/14 ATLANTA Regular $8,100 205,603 Below GREY 8G A Yes
    09/19/14 PA Regular $11,800 209,475 Avg SILVER 8G P Yes
    09/17/14 CEN FLA Regular $8,800 228,105 Below SILVER 8G A Yes
    09/11/14 SO CAL Regular $9,100 235,865 Below BLACK 8G A Yes
    09/23/14 NYMETSKY Regular $8,000 238,868 Below BLACK 8G A Yes

    Additional: If VAG had gone off their usual script and designed the platform/drivetrain in such a way that it *could* be kept going without fear of complete financial annihilation, I would admire and desire the Phaeton. There is something to be said for subtle elegance.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Those miles are just too high for that sort of money on the LS. Sheesh.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        LS is a serious ride with a following, my thought was the money was too high on the Phaetons (which is essentially an unloved car which barely exists). I’m thinking 3K for some of those 100K+ examples might be a fun experience, not 6-8, plus post sale, plus buyers fee, plus whatever it needs out-the-gate (tires, fluids, etc).

        Think about it from the dealer perspective: I buy an oddball V8 Volkswagen for too much money (so 7ish), I then spend 250 on the buyers fee, 200 for post sale, and say $100 for detailing at my local joint, so I’m in 7550. I want to get paid so I’ll list at 12 and want 9-10. Nobody reputable will want to finance this, so my buyer will be (1) an enthusiast for cash/own financing (2) a VAG fan or tech for cash/own financing or (3) credit challenged welfare recipient and/or s*itbag low level criminal for cash or BHPH. Depending on who my clientele is, it can become difficult for me to turn the product around in a reasonable amount of time, keeping too much capital tied up. In the case of not much money (ie 3K from the block) the whole dynamic changes, I can put 6500 on it, take 5ish, and the chances of a nice turnaround time improve while not tying up nearly as much capital. People can come up with 2K cash and maybe credit union financing for 5K, tougher to come up for 4K+ and finance 6K+ on a ticking time bomb.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh oh! Please post data on A8L’s. I want to see difference. 05 was the second year of the revamped D3 (a good looking car, before the gaping front).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY05 Audi A8L V8

            08/26/14 RIVRSIDE Regular $10,750 63,259 Avg GREY 8G A Yes
            08/28/14 ST LOUIS Regular $6,100 175,944 Avg SILVER 8G A Yes
            08/28/14 ALBANY Regular $10,400 97,484 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
            09/03/14 SF BAY Regular $9,200 108,423 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
            09/12/14 PA Regular $7,000 129,205 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
            09/16/14 PHILLY Regular $9,600 105,079 Avg BLACK 8G P Yes
            09/16/14 BALTWASH Regular $7,800 117,794 Avg DKBLUE 8G A Yes
            09/17/14 ATLANTA Regular $11,400 89,327 Above GREY 8G A Yes
            09/23/14 PHILLY Lease $3,900 186,466 Below BLACK 8G A

            MY05 Audi A8L V12

            10/16/12 OHIO Regular $24,500 84,706 Avg GREY 12G A No
            11/07/12 SF BAY Regular $22,600 77,750 Avg BLUE 12G A No
            01/16/13 MILWAUKE Regular $21,750 82,715 Avg BLACK 12G A No
            02/14/13 CHICAGO Factory $22,000 62,736 Avg WHITE 12G A No
            02/27/13 SAN DIEG Regular $22,000 71,698 Avg GRAY 12G A No
            04/12/13 PA Regular $20,500 83,055 Avg BLACK 12G P No
            07/29/13 NEVADA Regular $21,000 80,622 Avg DKGRY 12G A No
            08/27/13 BALTWASH Regular $13,700 129,185 Avg WHITE 12G A No
            02/12/14 NJ Regular $8,900 173,401 Avg BLACK A No
            06/09/14 PA Lease $19,500 47,568 Avg GREY 12G P No
            07/18/14 PA Regular $21,000 63,135 Avg BLUE (DA 12G P No
            07/29/14 NYMETSKY Regular $8,500 121,141 Avg SILVER 12G A No

            MY05 Audi A8 V8

            08/28/14 DETROIT Lease $8,000 132,861 Avg BLACK 8G O Yes
            08/28/14 CHICAGO Regular $11,900 78,189 Avg GRAY 8G Yes
            09/02/14 NASHVILL Regular $7,900 118,014 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
            09/04/14 FRDKBURG Lease $5,600 138,831 Below SILVER 8G A Yes
            09/04/14 DFW Lease $1,800 1 Below BLACK 8G A No
            09/04/14 ATLANTA Lease $5,200 123,547 Below BLACK 8G A No
            09/05/14 PA Regular $11,000 84,833 Avg BLK/BLK 8G A Yes
            09/09/14 ATLANTA Regular $5,800 143,922 Below BLACK 8G A Yes
            09/18/14 CHICAGO Regular $13,800 62,174 Above BLACK 8G A Yes
            09/24/14 SAN DIEG Regular $8,600 105,804 Avg BLUE 8G A

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks. I’m surprised at the W12 pricing, considering it’s more expensive to run in all aspects, and the car doesn’t really NEED the W12 at all. Must be a rarity thing. The 05 89K $11,000 doesn’t sound too bad, if it’s above in condition.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Np. I suppose if your car budget is +/- 20K, a clean A8 for 11K + fees + transport doesn’t sound too horrible.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            28 – I will pay you for your time when I need to locate my next vehicle, with low mileage, in A- (very good) or better condition overall (but impeccable mechanicals).

            I just can’t give up my 30nm/degree chassis, three pedal + manual gear lever, sprite ride yet (had it out on some smooth twisties in 74 degree, sunny, low humidity weather yesterday, windows open, in light traffic.

            Heaven.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @DW

            I’ll certainly help you the best I can but I don’t have dealer or salesperson license (anymore) so my ability to pull the trigger and deliver a car is limited. I can however share my experience and expertise.

      • 0 avatar
        DeeDub

        Yes, but $15K gets you low-mile one-owner 430’s all day long. A screaming deal considering the luxury and build quality.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          But it looks and feels like a fancy Camry.

          No thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Looks? Maybe. Feels? I have to disagree. The two may feel somewhat numb on smooth asphalt in a straight line but the similarities end there.

          • 0 avatar
            WaftableTorque

            My Camry feels closer to a 5 series or A6 than it does to my LS430. In fact, my big complaint of my ES300 is that it’s suspension is too firm and lacking in suspension travel, which means they could have dialed in even better ride quality than they did.

            My gold standard for a great ride comes from 1970’s Detroit iron, even if they fold over at the first corner. The best riding contemporary car I’ve been in was a 1995 Sedan deVille d’Elegance.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @WaftableTorque

            Love the 4.9 K-body Deville, probably the last Cadillac I would ever look at buying. I still occasionally see them typically in two extremes: octogenarian clean and rough beater.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Precisely. Quality and/or sought after models have a much flatter depreciation curve and mileage becomes less relevant. You’ll pay 10-20% more for a car with half the miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      Please note that the 4-seater option commands a premium over the 5-seater Phaeton.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Part of me admires the concept. But I think it was on TTAC that I read about one owner’s dealer experience with trying to get the automatic trunk closer repaired (had a similar problem on my W211 E 350.)
    With the Phaeton, an already complicated situation was further clouded by the fact that all of the trunk closer harness wires (which had become crimped and then broken) were all one color, black.
    Now that is German arrogance. Danke, Doktor Piech.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Phaetons don’t have failing trunk closers, they just have “fancy trunk hinge display mode.”

      That, to me, is the essence of German “engineering”. Beautiful, complex, overbuilt componentry that just doesn’t function very well for very long.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I read somewhere how this is a problem in the Germanic-American difference in automotive level of care. The German buying a prestige marque (especially at the large class car like this) would have the money to have it rigorously serviced at regular intervals, to keep the little servos and this and that working. It’s unthinkable for a German to service their own car – you’re not “supposed” to do that.

        Almost no Americans take that view, and all of them/us think that every car should be somewhere between the reliability of a 4-speed Corolla from 2005 and an LS430 from 2012. Thus, we’re never satisfied with the large German vehicles and their Deutscheland complexity and required care.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “I read somewhere how this is a problem in the Germanic-American difference in automotive level of care. The German buying a prestige marque (especially at the large class car like this) would have the money to have it rigorously serviced at regular intervals, to keep the little servos and this and that working. It’s unthinkable for a German to service their own car – you’re not “supposed” to do that.”

          Which is, of course, complete hogwash. We’re not even talking about things like goofy Ferrari belt-change service intervals, there’s no reason something as mundane as a climate control or trunk closer servo should need “servicing”. It should just. freaking. work. The whole “Germans take better care of their cars” garbage doesn’t work when trying to justify treating the radiator as a replacement item with a 60k mile interval, and it doesn’t work trying to justify “servicing” any of the other parts that every other car in the world has that just don’t break.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Just saying what I read dude brah.

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            First, as far as I know, it takes a master mechanic’s liscense to change the oil (or at least bless the oil change after the Turkish greasemonkey does the real work). They really don’t expect anyone to do their own work (and I suspect that their US customers [first owners] tend to take the car to the dealer anyway.

            Second, have you ever worked with German-designed equipment? I’ve heard the joke about “working”: adj. a state in which a device has insufficient features.

            Hopefully, US engineers grow out of this before becoming lead/project engineers. Japanese engineers either never have it or are never allowed to let it inflict their designs. German engineers seem to consider it mandatory.

            Don’t by German equipment if this bothers you. Piech’s specs were something like “hold the temperature within 1C of the requested temperature, throughout the car, regardless of external conditions. Maintence-free wasn’t part of the spec (note: I have not bought a German car or other major purchase or plan to in the future. If you can understand Jack Baruth’s thing for watches, you can understand why he’s had two Phaetons.)

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Don’t by German equipment if this bothers you. Piech’s specs were something like “hold the temperature within 1C of the requested temperature, throughout the car, regardless of external conditions. Maintence-free wasn’t part of the spec (note: I have not bought a German car or other major purchase or plan to in the future. If you can understand Jack Baruth’s thing for watches, you can understand why he’s had two Phaetons.)”

            I don’t plan to buy one ;)

            Thing I don’t get, is that I understand my bleatings about “they’re so expensive to keep running” can be dismissed with a wave of the “how bourgeois” hand. But isn’t not having to deal with such things a luxury in and of itself? There are plenty of guys who have sworn off Euro luxury and sports cars that kept breaking, not because they couldn’t afford to keep fixing them, but becaues it became tiresome to deal with. I’m just a “simplicity is elegance” kinda guy, myself.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            Well, S2k you’ve certainly enlightened us. Now anyone considering something in the 12 cylinder luxo-barge class knows that Germans aren’t capable of building cars in that class and they should go check out the Honda lineup instead.

            Obviously Honda has been demonstrating how to make Phaeton-type technology reliable since – well, I’ll let you tell us.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Well, S2k you’ve certainly enlightened us. Now anyone considering something in the 12 cylinder luxo-barge class knows that Germans aren’t capable of building cars in that class and they should go check out the Honda lineup instead.

            Obviously Honda has been demonstrating how to make Phaeton-type technology reliable since – well, I’ll let you tell us.”

            Yeah, look at the big meanie head idiot who expects the stuff crammed into an $80k luxury car to work. He’s so high and mighty what with his “expectations” and stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            @S2k Chris: I’m just a “simplicity is elegance” kinda guy, myself.

            In that case, it sounds like a 1965 Chevy Corvair (a.k.a. “The Poor Man’s Porsche 911”) would be right up your alley.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    A friend of a friend owns a Phaeton, and I see it almost daily when dropping my youngest boys off at daycare (he has kids at about the same age, and its his DD) As far as I know he hasn’t had any major issues with it since he bought it about 5-6 years ago.
    I still mistake it for an older Passat from time to time, especially from the front, but up close you can tell that it’s expensive. Theres just something about it’s presence and apparent build quality that makes it whisper ‘I’m expensive’ if you have time to listen to it. An A8 (and there are loads of them around here) looks pretty pedestrian in comparison.
    Also my friend told me that when they went to pick it up (imported it used) from Germany, they found out that it’s just as dead silent inside at 120+mph as it is at 60. (and it’s a Tdi so it got more than 30 mpg going 120+…)
    PS: comparing it with older Lexuses may be pretty accurate, as it has a similar combination of dreary boring ‘non-brand’-design, while still being obviously well built.

  • avatar
    skog

    I’ve been to the factory where they make the Pheateon, it’s awesome.

    Google “Transparent factory” and you’ll find it. :)

  • avatar
    Timothy

    I was lucky enough to have a sales rep let me drive a Phaeton (a buddy was buying a B5.5 passat at the time). It was sublime. Everything about it felt heavy, substantial, incredible, and very expensive.

    I kinda want one.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I don’t really covet this type of luxo-barge, but I’m very happy someone makes them and that there are people who buy them. It certainly makes the auto landscape more interesting.

      While I haven’t been tempted by a Phaeton, I recently followed a BMW 850CSI home and was overcome with irrational longing for a V12 coupe. Maybe someday.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        Oh, man. The 8-series always gets me. I’ll see one across four lanes and traffic and snap my neck to get a look. I used to clean and service pools and one of my clients had one. 840Ci, black on black with the 4.4L and a manual. This guy had an attractive wife, but I’d sooner be caught checking out that car with the flimsy excuse of needing to reset a breaker in the garage. He mentioned needing to sell it to buy a [boat, watch, vacation home, mistress, other rich guy item] and said he would take $15k for it. That was impossible money to my $6.25/hour college kid ears, but I still regret not at least trying to find a way to take it home. Such a sweet car.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Thanks for the report, Jim. It was entertaining and informative. I respect any auto enthusiast who wants a certain car just because.

    Being lectured by posters on automotive forums that ones’s particular taste is wrong always strikes me as one of the more bizarre and tiresome byproducts of the internet community.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    In hospitals, AMA means “Against Medical Advice”. In the case of a Phaeton, you’d have to buy it AMA from your psychologist…

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    I still have no clue what that car is all about.What exactly makes it makes it desirable. The ride quality…handling …interior…it didn’t break down…long wheelbase Jetta look…VW version of luxury…its not an Audi….

  • avatar
    JMII

    Question: did all the neat stuff really meant your expectations?

    I remember hearing something about the air vents and how they were designed to control the cabin temperature without creating any uncomfortable zones. IE: air too cool thus freezing your hands while your feet seemed to cook.

    I’d love the idea behind the Phaeton: similar to the Veyron… it is a money is no object technical exercise. Just make everything on the vehicle the best it can possibility be.

    And yes only “car guys” know what Phaeton is. I had a B5 Passat thus I always keep an eye out for Phaetons. They are VERY rare. I work in Boca FL were Bentleys are as common as Camrys.

    • 0 avatar
      Jim Yu

      The ventless air is beyond amazing, and so civilized.

    • 0 avatar
      STRATOS

      I know its not a common car .They are kind of rare. I understand that cars with the heaviest depreciation make used car bargains.I myself own a 2005 jaguar xjr i could not afford or want new.As far as overengineering ,some cars have 10 window lift separate cpus and that is not an advantage .You may want to believe its like a Bentley but its more like a much heavier version of an Audi A8 . A car built of aluminum ,which has body panels are baked in an oven and much stronger than steel.All luxury cars are better built compared to cheaper models. The exclusivity of the Phaeton is due to demand.It.s not a popular car and in low numbers in Germany,China and South Korea.

  • avatar

    So Bentley are just rebadged versions of plebeian VW platform. I suspected that.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, every now and then, someone buys a high-priced VW and has no trouble with it at all.

    My brother in Calgary owned a 2003 VW Passat W8 6MT until 2010 with zero issues. That W8 was weird to look at, but with only 270 hp, it wasn’t a rocketship. Just damn nice to drive, nicer than the G37 he replaced it with, IMO.

    Sort of an under the radar Audi S4 that Passat was.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    The A8 has the aluminum spaceframe which, to my knowledge, which can be a lot more to fix…so something I’ve always wondered–how is the insurance rate vs the A8 if that’s something you might know?

  • avatar
    ccode81

    If you live in Japan and have a selection between Lexus LS600hl and Toyota Century, which would you buy?

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    My boss has a W12. I drove it. Five meters.

  • avatar
    asterix

    As a former W12 Phaeton owner. It was THE car for me and since I sold it to a gentleman in Mid 2010, I went back to owning an A8L (Audi Exclusive Edition.) Inasmuch as I love my A8L, I still miss my W12 Phaeton. It just was such an outstanding car that just happened to be way ahead of its time. It was the perfect stealth luxobarge.

  • avatar
    imon_2nd

    Hello, all.

    I know I’m late to the party but I just saw this article. Previously, I’ve read Jim’s Phaeton stuff on Jalopnik.

    I bought a 2004 Phaeton V8 with 67K miles last week. $11.8K Have wanted one since Jeremy Clarkson’s reviews many years ago.

    So far, having only driven it about 450 miles, the Phaeton has met my expectations and then some. What a cruiser. And yes, stealthy. Only one other driver made a point of following me, taking pix. My previous DD, a 1993 M-B 300CE Cabriolet got way more attention.

    Will be interesting to see if this ride is any more expensive to own and operate than my cab was.

    Cheers,

    Dave

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