2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8

27 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8

Volkswagen Phaeton


Base, as tested, $73,365

The Phaeton is the in Volkswagen’s successful transformation an economy car company to a premium car company to the front drive Based on the Audi A8, but with differences – including a interior and suspension tuning the Volkswagen translates the easy performance of its better small to a generously sized sedan.

quietly speaking elegance and the Phaeton keeps Volkswagen cues, translating the standard so it evokes luxury. The rear is elegant than even priced vehicles, with the word Phaeton in chrome centered underneath a lone logo. No need to discuss the size, trim level, or it’s a Phaeton, and that’s all you to know.

It’s the kind of that doesn’t have to be and instead of showing off its size (or it á la Chrysler 300C), it the viewer into thinking not much larger than a

Inside, Volkswagen combines with technology, with wood trim that folds up to reveal air vents, gauges, and a massive central LCD the navigation system. The leather include air conditioning as well as and a massage unit, and an 18 way positioning which is easily seen on the of the seats.

Children in the back appreciate the sunshades that out to cover every bit of the rear windows without completely the view, and most drivers probably like the electrically rear-window shade, which can exposure to the sun and also make headlights less blinding. Our vehicle had a $2,900 comfort and weather package, which the rear seats the same as the front seats.

The real of the Phaeton is under the hood and not in the technology-and-feature festooned interior, such luxuries as individual fan for each vent, individual controls for each of four with separate rear and a large-screen navigation system. is often called the front drive BMW, but the Phaeton’s 335 V8 engine would overpower the wheels far too easily; so Volkswagen with standard all wheel coupled with an active

The result is a car that has effortless from any speed, and a suspension of handling that power and superb cornering despite a ride. Unlike some cars, such as the Lexus LS, the provides a great deal of feel, so the ride on rough can be a little busy, but the passengers are protected from shocks and

While an optional W12 engine is the V8 provides more than punch for just about albeit with the civility one expect from a car with sticker price. Those one third the budget can get their with SRT-4s and Jetta but for $66,000, most want sophistication. The Phaeton zips with dramatic speed, no how fast you’re going you punch it, but without jerking or and surging.

The automatic transmission is of that: though it has six gears, it seems to be indecisive. There’s an to use manual override feature, by pushing the shifter to the right Drive, but few will probably use it. The automatic simply knows gear to be in.

Shifts are gentle but quick, for less than horrific gas despite the power and size of the (It seems odd that the 15 city, 22 qualifies for the gas-guzzler tax, a full-sized pickup or SUV would be with these figures. are also good for cars of class.)

The W12 has another 100 horsepower, but to be a bit slower to get moving at first perhaps because it’s to a five-speed automatic rather a six-speed – and has punishing gas The extra power is most at speeds most drivers not attain, making the W12 more of a symbol for all but the most enthuasiastic Getting to highway speed the V8 takes very little (under 7 seconds), and acceleration on the highway is excellent, but it’s a well-distributed power, which the brutal power somewhat tame.

The power of the V8 is not exceptional by standards – the humble Hemi produces about the power – until you the size of the engine, a mere 4.2 which means lighter for better vehicle balance. It pulls well from engine speeds – to high rpms – some competitors require revs. It helps that the is so responsive – and has so many for quiet and efficient driving at speeds but without large between gears.

The six-speed has a sport mode as well, but its in keeping the engine at its power are fairly minimal given the of the transmission in Drive, and the increased braking has a nasty effect on gas The sport mode can be useful at but isn’t recommended for everyday

Raising the hood is easy, to a tab that pops out of the grille for finding and lifting. Underneath is a marked engine bay; the air filters both have read gauges to tell how life is left. The air path unusually well designed, no a factor in squeezing so much out of a relatively small engine.

The includes auto levelling, damping control, engine control, electronic brake distribution, electronically assisted steering, and an advanced anti-slide, control system. The driver can the height of the car to a degree – are two height settings, normal and which can help with driveways – and can choose a softer, normal, or firmer absorber action.

The basic is that the Phaeton is remarkably and capable of whipping through with sports-car nimbleness, though it’s a fairly vehicle with a huge V8 should be able to break the grip when suddenly around tight turns. The can, plain and simply, with anything most even moderately foolish can throw at it, without breaking its or feeling like anything is going on.

Thanks to good body, and steering design, coupled intelligent aerodynamics, the Phaeton every bit as stable and assured at speeds as it does at city Opening up the V8 results in no loss of even at very high

For those times when behave with excessive or when others don’t you a chance, there are numerous features, including front and side airbags, side airbags, head restraints for all active head restraints for the passengers, and intelligent crash system.

To prevent accidents, from the suspension controls and all drive, Volkswagen provides headlamps with washers, running lights, and, as an electronic parking assistance essentially, a radar system at of the car’s four corners as as at the front and rear, a step of most systems which are good for the front and rear. A readout apperas at each of the corners.

This can really with parking the large car though the surprisingly tight radius is also quite (The parking assist which can also be useful for accidents with little is bundled with the power trunk lid for $1,150, and, its potential for saving damage and is probably a better buy than, the 270 watt sound system at $1,000.) Also in the visibility are the windshield washers, which defrosters for the washer nozzles to freeze-up, a rain sensor for wipers, and pinch protection for the windows (all of which an express feature for quick and closing). The styling does some blind spots in the corners, and the horn, though loud (and barely through the effective sound is rather hard to use.

At the xenon headlights are unusually focused, which not only blinding other drivers but provides a clear area you have excellent vision; a more European pattern American, and not unlike Toyota and patterns. The brights are conventional bulbs that go on alongside the headlights for excellent short and visibility, which, again, blinding other drivers.

The headlight switch is a bit confusing in its and whenever the headlights aren’t on, a DRL shows up on the instrument panel to let us that the daytime running are on (not that you can shut off). Presumably this is so at you’ll know when the aren’t on, though one would that the absence of instrument backlighting would be a big clue.

All the does have its price, and in case, it’s user-friendliness. hard to put a half a million into the space of a car and have sensible and usable, and the market is of vehicles that didn’t succeed.

While Volkswagen have a number of sensible including tilted seat so that you can actually see the large of seat controls – of which are not at all obvious in function, few are labelled with anything than arrows, and a separate volume/control knob – car takes quite a bit of getting to, and even once you are used to it, it has features that are simply to use. The seats are a relatively issue – sooner or you will figure out where the belt adjuster is, how to shut off the support, and how to air-conditioning the seat (it’s the negative numbers on the knob) – especially if you use the

Once adjusted, the car automatically your settings, with keys tied to driver (and a guest setting as The electric steering wheel (up and down, in and out) are easy to and use and are quite a convenience; pedal controls might be handy,

Likewise, the daunting array of in the sunroof/dome light area is marked, but doesn’t take too to master. The moonroof cover is operated, but has express open and which helps (it’s easier to toss these open manually). The slats in the are sometimes annoying as they let sun in, but most of the time they their purpose of allowing hot air out letting sunlight in.

Volkswagen’s dial-type sunroof control is the we’ve seen.

The area the Phaeton suffers from is in the center control panel, encompasses the climate control, system, main stereo and general preference-setting. This is a area for many cars navigation systems. The Phaeton has a video screen, which be very useful for maps, if the showed street names or numbers, which it doesn’t, it something less than useful.

Some of the most used features, such as air and temperature, do have their own buttons above the screen, but require going through a of menus.

We were rather by the lack of customization options; grown used to being to control things like behavior, door locking, and the The big video screen and extensive controls would bring one to that this could be on the Phaeton, as well. You can change the height, to overcome steep and such; you can change the ride making it softer or firmer to your tastes and driving emulating on one end a Lexus and on the other a but you can’t tell the car to unlock all the at once, or to stop automatically the doors (to be fair, you can control the perimeter lighting shutoff and the options).

We had the most problems the climate control. Some of it are pure genius: the individual speed controls, for example, and the computer-operated thermostatic control for of four passengers. The system is to shut down the fresh air when it detects a sudden in pollution, e.g. from a big truck or old Chevy with seals just ahead.

On our model, though, the air conditioning was weak, and the blower refused to our commands and kept blowing fast, then very then very fast. more, even if our test car wasn’t working properly (it had miles and that’s a lot for a press car), reaching the fan control pushing the button on the nav system made us agree not to be distracted by the nav – an ironic design then agree that we to be User #1 (we had that key), and finding and pushing the Climate (in a row of eight buttons), then the big multifunction knob while the display; the fan, as on just all luxury cars, reacted

Indeed, we often thought our hadn’t registered because of the between turning a knob and or hearing the results. One clever of the big multifunction knob, though, was with a little friction and turning the friction way up when it hit the end of its travel, emulating a real

One of the nicer features is an indirect system, which uses the defroster and front and rear window defrosters to heat or the car without creating a draft. The can automatically switch to direct when extra cooling is which, unfortunately, can be fairly

The stereo does have its own and audio knob, as well as wheel volume controls, and a each for the various modes CD, etc.) Changing CDs in flight is a bit since the changer is in the glove and there’s no slot in the center We found that the electronic knob sometimes ignored our to shut down, and that the controls were split, bass, midrange, treble, and fade controlled via one easy to use and digital signal processing and set up from the navigation system each time you start the to use any feature that’s shared the nav system, you have to agree not to be

Compression essentially lowers the of the loudest parts of music, and is useful for listening to classical where being able to to quieter passages can mean crescendos; despite the Phaeton’s sound insulation, it can still be in a car due to the background noise. The digital processor is an oft-used feature can optimize sound for the driver a substantial improvement – or a number of different effects making it sound like a hall, or optimizing for voice – and making it easier to would be useful.

Echoing the theme is the instrument panel, six gauges – large and tachometer, small fuel, voltage, and oil pressure gauges. All fine gradations and small which make it somewhat to get an idea of what’s going on at a but it’s good that don’t talk down to us, actual numbers (e.g. temperatures instead of L and H).

The 200 mph speedometer may be it, though we have no doubt the goes quickly, but it’s size means it’s usable at the speeds normal normally drive. A large, designed clock sits in the of the dashboard.

Between the speedometer and tachometer is a large LCD display which alerts, error messages, and a of trip-computer information, controlled by a on the steering wheel; it’s to use and a nice convenience. The main can also show trip information.

In the category of nice is the outside mirrors, which can be to fold in at the turn of a chrome – the same one that’s to adjust the mirrors. The front are cleverly disguised – you down to make them and press a button to make disappear – but they’re not as to different cup sizes as the rear or typical minivan cupholders. Map on the doors fold out a little for access, and the center bin is nicely

The glove compartment can also a reasonable amount of stuff. is well done, often and always handy; at night, are backlit in bright red, preserves night vision, but may prefer a more restful or green (gauges are backlit white).

Also in the clever is a maintenance panel buried in the nav controls, which lets you the windshield wipers into the position for easier access.

The have numerous controls, extension of the lower cushion for leg support, side bolster, and The optional rear bucket bring more conveniently climate controls, more trim, and recline adjustments for seat passengers. Even that option, rear have a handsome fold-down console with storage and dual cupholders, complete a first aid kit.

Speaking of supplies, one little-known Phaeton is a second battery – if you find yourself stranded a … battery, you can switch to the one (it’s for emergency use only).

We did not some of the more clever including the rather desirable ventilators which, on a hot day, can do for the interior temperature, and make work for the air conditioner; and the speedy front window defroster. The cruise control was also it lets you choose a number of you want to be from the car in front of a safer way to do it than plain since it automatically adjusts to in speed (though it allows a unsafe one-second delay, and may you to manually apply the brakes if a stop is needed).

For those in climates, there is a post-stop pump which keeps heat going until the runs down or 30 minutes by. Finally, for the sport-oriented, the manual override can be moved from the right to the steering wheel, Tiptronic wheel paddles. our test car did not have these – but they (and the W12 help to explain how the Phaeton can six figures.

Our vehicle had the advanced system, which automatically the driver’s door when you it (if you have the key fob), and puts locking buttons onto door. Be warned, though, using these buttons activate the advanced alarm (that is, the intrusion and towing

All Phaetons come with a window raising/lowering feature: put the key the driver’s lock and hold it on or unlock, and the windows will all or lower themselves, followed by the It takes some patience, and a version would be nice, but it is a feature to avoid getting in and putting the key in to raise a window or or to cool off the interior a bit before in.

The trunk is moderately sized, not but not as large as we’d expect a full-sized car that has incredible of leg room for both front and passengers. The fuses and such are in one easily removed panel, and the panels and spare tire have nicely finished handles; but the fuse list is partially filled in, and in German, at

Our car had the power open/close trunk, sometimes ignored the key fob control but, again, fleet are often roughly handled. The open/close control and hinges are in a way which minimizes their into the trunk space, and are well protected.

Volkswagen, Lexus, has chosen to use General excellent OnStar concierge/safety It’s operated from a overhead console, with a light indicating its location.

The is surprisingly crowded in this area, with, among the Lexus LS430, BMW 745, Q45, Cadillac DTS, A8, and Mercedes S-Class. If you prefer a direct connection to your car and a ride, the Chrysler 300C all wheel drive offers an alternative, though it means to a lower price class a 300C, a Golf TDI for fuel-sipping, and a VR6 for quick city jetting).

Group may not object too much if you opt for the the Volkswagen seems to be more for performance (á la Audi and has a number of other differences, to our mind better styling, but buyers may prefer the dealer at Audi.

We have griped some of the controls, but the Volkswagen is of BMW’s iDrive, and we’d higher quality than troubled Mercedes’ offerings. The is more oriented to driver with a smoother ride but road feel and less on driving dynamics and curved-road The all wheel drive is certainly an offering both safety and on full-throttle turns.

The Volkswagen almost certainly be a unique in your neighborhood, even if luxury cars abound: the is a relatively limited production with fewer than 900 to be sold in 2004.

Overall, the is a good example of what can if time, attention, and technology are to make the functional parts of a car be all can be, but also a cautionary tale of the for judgement and end-user testing of in an era of exploding features.

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