AMA About My Phaeton Ownership Experience

Jim Yu
by Jim Yu

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”.

What questions do you have about owning a Phaeton?

Jim Yu
Jim Yu

More by Jim Yu

Join the conversation
2 of 158 comments
  • Asterix Asterix on Oct 19, 2014

    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.

  • Imon_2nd Imon_2nd on May 10, 2015

    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

  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Like fusion power, the I.D. Buzz is only 30 years away.
  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)