Volkswagen’s first full-sized luxury saloon, the Phaeton, makes its UK debut in left-hand drive form, prior to going on sale here in the middle of next year.
Setting new standards in quality, comfort and safety, the Phaeton will compete in the D segment against, for example, the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7 Series.
Its appearance is befitting of its status as a luxury car, and includes typical Volkswagen detailing. It will be bought by discerning buyers who desire a discreet luxury product that sets automotive benchmarks in both technology and design.
The extensive engine range includes three petrol and two diesel powerplants. From launch, two engines will be available: the 240 bhp 3.2-litre V6, and the flagship 420 bhp 6.0-litre W12. Later, the 335 bhp 4.2-litre V8, 180 bhp 2.5-litre TDI and 313 bhp 5.0-litre V10 TDI will follow.
Technical sophistication is a hallmark of the Phaeton. Featured within the range are four wheel, self-levelling pneumatic suspension; class-leading 4-Zone Climatronic draught-free air conditioning; audio equipment with sound to match that of a quality home hi-fi system; 4MOTION four-wheel drive; automatic vehicle separation distance control by radar; keyless entry, ignition and engine starting; and alternate headlamp washers, to reduce dimming during washing.
The Phaeton measures 5.06 metres long, 1.9 m wide and 1.45 m high, with a 2.88 mm wheelbase. It is built at the Transparent Factory in Dresden, a strikingly modern building quite unlike a typical car plant. With extensive use of glass, wood and bright metal, the Dresden facility is an impressive backdrop for the construction of the Phaeton, and a place that customers can visit to witness the progress of their own vehicle.
Prices for the Phaeton will be announced closer to its launch, but are expected to be between £42k and £70k. The UK sales forecast is for 255 units in 2003; 454 in 2004 and 550 in 2005.
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