Volkswagen Phaeton
aka Type aka here, not up there
Production 2003 - present
Class Full-Size Executive / Luxury
Body Style 4-door, 4/5 seat Sedan
Length SWB: 199.0 in (5055 mm)
LWB: 203.7 in (5175 mm)
Width 74.9 in (1903 mm)
Height 57.1 in (1450 mm)
Wheelbase SWB: 113.4 in (2881 mm)
LWB: 118.1 in (3001 mm)
Weight 2372 kg
Transmission 5-speed ZF 5HP24A tiptronic automatic, AWD
6-speed ZF 6HP26A tiptronic automatic, AWD
Engine Petrol:
3.2 litre (3189 cc) V6
4.2 litre (4172 cc) V8
6.0 litre (5998 cc) W12

3.0 litre (2967 cc) V6 TDI
5.0 litre (4852 cc) V10 TDI
Power Petrol:
237 hp (177 kW, 241 PS) @ N/A rpm
232 lb-ft (315 Nm) of torque @ N/A rpm

330 hp (246 kW, 334 PS) @ N/A rpm
317 lb-ft (430 Nm) of torque @ N/A rpm

BAN (W12)
414 hp (309 kW, 420 PS) @ N/A rpm
413 lb-ft of (560 Nm) torque @ 2750 rpm

BRN / BTT (W12)
444 hp (331 kW, 450 PS) @ 6050 rpm
413 lb-ft of (560 Nm) torque @ 2750 rpm

221 hp (165 kW, 224 PS) @ N/A rpm
332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque @ N/A rpm

308 hp (230 kW, 313 PS) @ N/A rpm
553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque @ N/A rpm
Similar Maserati Quattroporte
BMW 7 Series
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Audi A8
Porsche Panamera
Lexus LS
Bentley Flying Spur
Jaguar XJ
Aston Martin Rapide
Designer Designer (lead designer if it was a team effort)

The Volkswagen Phaeton (pronounced "fey-ton") is a large luxury sedan manufactured by Volkswagen. It currently serves as the flagship of the Volkswagen line-up, competing with other high-end flagship sedans such as the Jaguar XJ, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It presumably takes its name from Phaëton, the son of Helios in Greek mythology, or harkens back to the early days of automobile production, in which phaetons were a recognized class of vehicles.

The Phaeton was the brainchild of Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch, who perceived the addition of such a flagship as a means to burnish the Volkswagen brand.

The Phaeton's platform, the D1 platform, is shared with Bentley Continental GT and Bentley Continental Flying Spur. D1 platform is constructed of steel, yet it utilizes 16 different metals, alloys and plastics. It has an impressive torsional rigidity of 37,000 Nm. The D1 platform is often confused with the D3 platform of current Audi A8. The D3 is an aluminium space frame and is not directly related to D1. The latter is substantially lighter yet the benefits of this are disputable. The current Bentley Continental series are still built on the D1.

The Phaeton has the longest wheelbase in the passenger Volkswagen model line.

In Dresden, Germany, the car is hand-assembled in a distinctive factory with a glass exterior, the Gläserne Manufaktur.

In the US, the V8 model was priced at $66,700, including a $1,300 gas-guzzler tax. The W12 model started at $96,700, including a $3,000 gas-guzzler tax. In Germany, 2010 prices start at 66,500 EUR for a 5-seater V6 TDI diesel. The 100,000 EUR mark is exceeded easily once you start ticking the very extensive options list.

See Autopedia's comprehensive Volkswagen Phaeton Review.

Recent Changes

  • 2011 sees an extensive facelift for the VW flagship. The new Phaeton, unveiled at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, now sports VW's new Scirocco-derived corporate fascia. The facelift was penned by Klaus Bischoff was penned [1]

For the 2009 model year, Volkswagen gave the exterior and interior of the Phaeton a minor facelift to better align it with its competitors. This update included new LED daytime running lights, as well as a freshened centre console with revamped controls and materials. New Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) V6 petrol engine with greater power and fuel efficiency (206 kW / 280 PS) which satisfy Euro-5 emissions standards is also available.

Other changes to the 2009 model year included: three new types of alloy wheels (17, 18 and 19 inch), a slightly modified radiator grille, three new exterior colours, the new leather colour, the new wood trims, white switch illumination instead of red, accent and switch trim in the new "Warm gray" colour, an upgraded car key, makeup mirror in the rear on the long version, dampers optimised for low-friction, Carbon fibre-reinforced Silicon Carbide (C/SiC) ceramic composite brakes (front) on the Phaeton W12, as well as a rearview camera (Rear Assist).

Styles and Major Options

Certain vehicles come in different trim levels or body styles. Features and major options should be mentioned here.


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£46,195 £48,640 £78,685 $Price4
$Price1 $Price2 $Price3 $Price4

Gas Mileage

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As seen on the website, the City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:

Trim1 Trim2 Trim3 Trim4
c/h c/h c/h c/h

Engine and Transmission

As of 2006, the Phaeton is available with the following engines:

Displacement Power output Torque 0-100 km/h Top speed
3.2 L (3189 cc) V6 177 kW (241 bhp) 315 Nm (232 ft­·lbf) 9.4 s
4-seat: 9.7 s
LWB: 9.7 s
4-seat LWB: 9.9 s
239 km/h (149 mph)
4.2 L (4172 cc) V8 246 kW (335 bhp) 430 Nm (317 ft­·lbf) 6.9 s 250 km/h (155 mph)(Limited)
6.0 L (5998 cc) W12 331 kW (450 bhp) 560 Nm (413 ft­·lbf) 6.1 s 250 km/h (155 mph)(Limited)
3.0 L (2967 cc) V6 165 kW (225 bhp) 450 Nm (332 ft­·lbf) 8.8 s
4-seat: 9.1 s
234 km/h (145 mph)
5.0 L (4921 cc) V10 230 kW (313 bhp) 750 Nm (553 ft­·lbf) 6.9 s 250 km/h (155 mph)(Limited)

Only the 4.2 L and 6.0 L gasoline engines were available in the United States and Canada. All Phaetons shipped to the United States and Canada were electronically limited to a top speed of 210 km/h (130 MPH).

The 3.2 L V6, 4.2 L V8, 5.0 L V10 TDI and 6.0 L W12 engines are all available in short wheelbase and long wheelbase versions with 4Motion permanent all wheel drive as standard. The V6 and V8 gasoline as well as all TDI diesel models have a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the W12 models have a 5-speed automatic.

The Phaeton also features 4motion all wheel drive (technically identical with Audi's Quattro, a Torsen differential based system) an advanced traction control system, anti-lock brakes, electronic differential lock (EDL), engine braking control (EBC), electronic brake distribution (EBD), and electronic stability program (ESP) with brake assist.

The 3.2 V6 was also available in Europe in 2003-2004 with front-wheel drive, with optional manual gearbox. This entry model was dropped for 2005. A Phaeton with manual gearbox is therefore a very rare sight.


Please make sure to write information of the vehicle's performance in a third-person point of view. This section should include information about the car's acceleration figures, handling, braking, etc.

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Warranty options and scheduled maintenance information should be mentioned here.


This section should reference points on safety ratings and features of the vehicle.


Add Photos of the vehicle here.

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List the colors that the particular <MODEL> is offered in.

Interior colors available were, black, tan, grey, blue and a dark green

Multiple wood trims were available, including, walnut, eucalyptus, myrtle,

Main Competitors

Create links to other <MAKE> <MODEL> pages in this section.

Hybrid Models

If there are hybrid versions of this vehicle manufactured, then please elaborate a little bit on it here.

Unique Attributes

At the time of its introduction, the Phaeton had some of the first implementations of power adjustable, heated, and massaging rear seats


This section should include information on the interior's design, build quality, ergonomics, space (head and legroom, front and rear), features, stowage compartments and overall comfort and livability. Add pictures wherever applicable and keep information in a third-person point of view.

Resale Values

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In the North American markets resale values are commonly found at or below 10 percent of original prices. The exceptions are well maintained, or with rarer options such as the W12 engine with the 4 seat package as only 13 cars of that specific trim are known to be in north america.

<MODEL> Year
Year X Year X-2 Year X-3 Year X-4
Resale Value
$ $ $ $


Common criticisms of the Phaeton is do to the exterior looks, as it is very similar to other sedans in Volkswagen's lineup, and part availability


Fill in as many as appropriate. Add more if necessary and pictures wherever applicable.

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Current Generation: (YYYY–present)

Fifth generation (YYYY–YYYY)

Fourth generation (YYYY–YYYY)

Third generation (YYYY–YYYY)

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First Generation/Origins (YYYY–YYYY)


American market

The Phaeton has not sold well since entering the United States in 2004. 2,204 Phaetons were sold in 2004, 265 of which were completed in 2003. Volkswagen responded to initial sales by offering a US$10,000 buyer incentive. Just 820 were sold in the United States in all of 2005. The 2006 model year sold only 235 vehicles. leading the company to announce that sales in the American market would end after the 2006 model year. 3,259 Phaetons are known to have entered the North American market

Car and Driver reported in October 2006 that Volkswagen had discontinued the Phaeton in the North American markets due to insufficient sales and constant service issues.

Other reasons for the Phaeton's demise in these markets was the hefty price tag, which was in part due to currency fluctuations. This put it in competition with luxury sedans that were already well established in the American market, such as the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Customers have been slow to accept a luxury Volkswagen, perhaps due to their historical perception of Volkswagen as being an "economy" marque. The British motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson summed up the Phaeton's commercial failure by pondering "To what question is the answer a £68,000 Volkswagen?".

Design quirks and oddities

  • Volkswagen has registered 100 patents on various innovations in the Phaeton. One such patent is for the 4-Zone Climatic Air Conditioner, which allows a separate temperature for each quarter of the vehicle, and is draft-free.
  • The Chancellor of Germany, the Pope at the Vatican, the Prime Minster of Portugal, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and North Korean Officials are all chauffeured in Phaetons.
  • Pope Benedict XVI was given a new Phaeton W12 by Volkswagen in October 2006.
  • The Government of Hong Kong replaced its E38 BMW 7 Series fleet with 35 Phaetons in October 2006.
  • Former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder received the very first Phaeton in 2002, when he opened the factory in which the cars are built. His first use of the car was at the World Trade Conference in New York in 2002.
  • Taiwan’s leading motoring magazine, "Car Magazine" [2]" crowned the Volkswagen Phaeton "Taiwan’s best luxury sedan" in its tenth edition Automotive Buyer’s Guide 2005.
  • The Phaeton has a drag co-efficent rating of 0.31.
  • With the speed limited removed, the 6.0 W12 Phaeton can reach a top speed of 201mph as attested by Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear; Clarkson said that it was "totally smooth and stable" even at that speed, and that even at 201 mph, he "still couldn't hear the engine".
  • The Phaeton was runner up for 2003's Most Beautiful Luxury Sedan in the World.


  • During its launch in 2004, the V8 model won Inspiring Men Magazine's best sedan of the year award.[1]

See Also


Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen | Audi | SEAT | Škoda | Bentley | Bugatti | Lamborghini | Ducati | Porsche


Cars: Golf · Golf R20 · Golf GTI · Jetta · Passat · New Beetle · Eos · Touran · CrossTouran · Golf Plus · CrossGolf · Fox · Polo · CrossPolo · Polo GTI · Phaeton · Sagitar · Passat Lingyu · Santana 3000 · Santana · Lupo · Passat CC · Scirocco · Lavida · Gol · Parati · Gol Country · Saveiro · New Mid-Size Sedan · Vento · Passat NMS · Up!

Vans/SUV/MPVs: Routan · Touareg · Sharan · Caravelle · Tiguan · SpaceFox · Suran · CrossFox · Multivan · California · Transporter · Crafter · Caddy · Caddy Maxi ·

Trucks: Amarok


Cars: Beetle · Corrado · Dasher · Thing · Karmann Ghia · Karmann Ghia 1500/1600 · Karmann Ghia TC · SP2 · Type 87 Kommandeurswagen · 411 · Pointer · 1500 · Brasilia · 1600 · K70 · Derby · Type 3 · Type 4 · Apollo · Logus · Rabbit · Citi Golf

Vans/SUVs: Eurovan · Vanagon · Bus · Kübelwagen · Fridolin · Type 2 · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Trucks: Saveiro · Taro · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Concept Vehicles

Golf GTI W12 650 Concept · Iroc Concept · Tiguan Concept · EcoRacer Concept · GX3 · Beetle Ragster · Concept A · Concept C · Concept R · Concept T · W12 Nardo · Cheetah · Microbus · 1 Litre · Up! Concept · Polo Cabrio Concept · Concept Slipstream · Space Up! Concept · Viseo Electric Concept · Space Up! Blue Concept · Golf Variant RaVe 270 Concept · EGO Concept · ONE Concept · ROOM Concept · Touareg North Sails Concept · Caddy Topos Sail Concept · Golf BlueMotion Diesel Concept · Concept Pickup · Caddy 4MOTION PanAmericana Concept · Bio Runner Concept · Scirocco Study R Concept · BlueSport Concept · 'NMS' · Polo BlueMotion Concept · Wörthersee 09 Polo GTI Concept · Wörthersee 09 Golf GTI Concept · L1 Concept · E-Up! Concept · Up! Lite Concept · New Compact Coupe Concept · Milano Taxi EV Concept · E-Lavida Concept · Tapiro Concept · London Taxi EV Concept · E-Bugster Concept · Beetle R Concept


Touareg TDI Trophy Truck · Scirocco GT24-CNG · Race Touareg 3

Ferdinand Porsche · Major Ivan Hirst · Gläserne Manufaktur · Engines

German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront), a Nazi trade union Corporate website A subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group

<- Previous Volkswagen car timeline, European market, 1980s-present - [edit]
Type 1980s 1990s 2000s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
City car Lupo Fox
Supermini Polo I Polo II Polo III Polo IV
Derby I
Small family car Type 1 (Beetle)
Golf I Golf II Golf III Golf IV Golf V
Jetta I Jetta II Vento Bora Jetta V
Large family car Passat I Passat II Passat III Passat IV Passat V Passat VI
Executive car Phaeton
Coupé Scirocco I Scirocco II Scirocco III
Corrado New Beetle
Van Caddy 14 Caddy 9U / 9K Caddy 2K
Type 2 (T3) Caravelle/Multivan (T4) Caravelle/Multivan (T5)
Compact MPV Golf Plus
Large MPV Sharan
Off-roader Tiguan
<- Previous Volkswagen car timeline, North American market, 1980s-present - [edit]
Type 1980s 1990s 2000s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Subcompact car Fox / Fox Wagon
Compact car Rabbit I Golf II Golf III Golf IV Rabbit V
Jetta I Jetta II Jetta III Jetta IV Jetta V
Mid-size car Quantum Passat III Passat IV Passat V Passat VI
Full-size car Phaeton
Coupé Scirocco I Scirocco II Corrado New Beetle
Convertible Rabbit Convertible Cabriolet Cabrio Eos
New Beetle Convertible
Van Vanagon (Type 2 - T3) Eurovan DCX
Pickup Rabbit LX
Compact SUV Tiguan
SUV Touareg


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