New Car: 2011 Volkswagen Phaeton

A newly revised rival for the S-Class? Now that’s Phaeton talk! Despite lacklustre sales of the first-generation car, VW has unveiled a facelifted version of its luxury flagship ahead of its debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

Featuring air-suspension and four-wheel drive as standard, the newcomer is aimed squarely at the top end of the market. That takes it dangerously close to Audi A8 territory – a car also built by the VW Group. And just like the A8, the Phaeton will be offered with a standard or extended wheelbase – the latter pushing out the car’s length from 5.06 metres to 5.18m.

For effortless cruising, a range of engines with either six, eight or 12 cylinders is available, including one diesel and three petrol options. The best seller in the UK will be the 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 TDI. The common-rail direct-injection unit is capable of sending the Phaeton from 0-62mph
in 8.6 seconds, but still returns 33mpg.

Petrol fans can choose between a 276bhp 3.6-litre V6, a 330bhp 4.2 V8 or a full-blown 444bhp 6.0 W12. The latter is the same engine fitted to the outgoing Phaeton, not the recently announced 6.3-litre W12 offered on the Audi A8.

In keeping with the model’s understated character, the styling changes are predictably low key. A new front end has pulled the VW flagship into line with the rest of the brand’s portfolio. But unlike VW’s other new models, the Phaeton’s more upright grille is finished in chrome instead of shiny black. The standard bi-xenon headlights and rear light clusters now feature LED lights.

With such a sombre exterior, it’s the luxurious cabin that’s designed to get customers excited. There’s four-zone climate control, while the 18-way electric seats should ensure anybody can get comfortable. Buyers can choose between a three-seater rear bench or two separate electric rear seats and a virtually limitless range of wood, leather and Alcantara trim.

Cutting-edge equipment includes an eight-inch touchscreen sat-nav, which can download satellite images from Google maps and overlay your selected route. A front-mounted camera can recognise road signs and flash them to the driver, plus there’s a self-dipping Dynamic Light Assist system which keeps the headlights on full beam, and masks part of the light if it senses oncoming traffic. Expect the entry-level petrol V6 to start from around £50,000 when it goes on sale at the end of the year.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express


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