So we got a 2012 Volkswagen Phaeton

So we got a 2012 Volkswagen Phaeton

This is one car that caused a lot of controversy back when it was launched in 2002. Most had issues with the fact that the Phaeton was “too expensive for a Volkswagen.” Of course, many failed to realise that the Phaeton was pretty much a cheaper Audi A8, possibly better even, considering it used the dedicated all-wheel-drive Bentley Continental platform.

Interestingly, we had the pleasure of driving that original one back in 2006. It was one of only two VWs we had driven back then before being “banned” by the VW Middle East office. Half-a-decade later, VW’s local office is under new management, and the cool people there have been feeding us VWs every couple of weeks, as well as providing us with our superb VW Passat CC long-termer. It’s rather interesting to revisit a car from a past era though.

The Phaeton has hardly changed in its newest iteration. With a completely new chrome-encrusted frontal design and all-round LED lights, that’s about the extent of the obvious external changes.

The interior is, if we remember correctly, almost exactly the same as before, and still eye-poppingly attractive and still sporting automatic covers for the a/c vents. About the only change we could think of is the replacement of the earlier touchscreen computer with the new one that is found in all new VWs nowadays. There’s almost as much leather and wood here as a basic Bentley.

While the Phaeton is possibly the oldest design in the current VW line-up, still retaining a foot-operated parking brake when some lesser VW models get an electric one, we’re glad that it also kept some of the older Phaeton’s most unique features, such as the push-down cup-holders and the extra Bluetooth phone that works via your own phone.

The back gets huge leg-space, two reclining seats, those cool cup-holders, and that huge control panel for the rear a/c, aside from two DVD screens on the headrests, manual window sunshades and roof-mounted vanity mirrors.

The boot has space for five bodies at least, in case the visiting mafia-types are interested. The lid hinges are painted silver for extra coolness.

The Phaeton remains conservative, but at least the new bling up front adds some character now. We’ve realised that no one on the road gives it the respect it deserves, even though it is easily one of the most luxurious cars we’ve ever driven. More in the upcoming full review.

What do you think?




  2. I dont like it.. I usually hate gigantic flagship cars.. They are just too excessive..

  3. Great car.. really great interior.. doesn’t look great though. Im not saying it looks bad.. but common.. you cant compare those looks to rivals in its class.. ‘7 series,S class, A8’
    Could have done a better job on the out.. especially when other VW’s look pretty good these days 😉

  4. always had a strange liking towards the phaeton. does it still have that huge w16 or w12 engine?
    great car to buy used as its resale is terrible

  5. Visiting mafia types. Heh.

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