For the 2006 model year, Volkswagen's luxury flagship, the Phaeton, benefits from a horsepower boost to its 12-cylinder engine, which now provides 444 hp. This powerplant propels the big car from a standing start to 60 mph in a sports car-like six seconds. A 335-hp V-8 engine also is available.
With its German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW planning to broaden their lineups with smaller cars at lower price points, Volkswagen responded by going upscale and building a large and luxurious flagship, the Phaeton, which launched as a 2004 model priced at some $64,000. Volkswagen has announced it will stop selling the Phaeton in the North American market after the 2006 model year. Sales will continue in other markets.
The Phaeton offers a choice not only of engines, but also of seating configurations. The engines are the 6.0L, 12-cylinder with a unique "W"-shaped cylinder alignment and the more conventional 4.2L V-8, which propels the big vehicle to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. The Phaeton features Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and rides on an air suspension system that adjusts ride height and ride quality to optimize dynamic control and comfort.
The seating choices are for four or five occupants. Drivers have 18-way power adjustable seats and front passengers can make 16 adjustments to achieve seating comfort. Rear outboard seats have 10-way power adjustment in the four-seat configuration. Both front and rear seats are available with internal ventilation and massage features. The car features a unique ventilation system with air vents that disappear behind solid wooden shutters. Four-zone climate controls and a 270-watt sound system also are available. The standard equipment list includes a navigation system. The V-8 comes with Eucalyptus wood interior trim while the W12 has Walnut trim, with Myrtle or Chestnut trim available.
The Volkswagen Phaeton competes in the Large Premium Conventional segment, a prestigious low-volume, high-dollar category where engineering excellence and the latest safety and technology features are the price of entry. While this segment comprises less than 0.5 percent of the overall U.S. light-vehicle market, the competition for bragging rights is intense.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM Volkswagen sold 820 Phaetons in calendar year 2005. Sales are likely to be even lower in 2006, as VW phases out the model in the U.S. On the other end of the spectrum, segment sales in 2005 were led by the Lincoln Town Car, which sold 47,122 units during the calendar year. In a tight battle for second, the Lexus LS 430 (26,043 units sold) outpaced the Cadillac DTS (23,322). Other major players in the segment include the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Jaguar XJ, and Audi A8.
|V8 (A6)||6 speed automatic||$66,700||335-hp / 4.2L 8-cyl||16/22|
|W12 (A5)||5 speed automatic||$96,600||444-hp / 6.0L 12-cyl||12/18|