VolksWatch | 2006 Volkswagen Phaeton V8 Road Test

4 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on VolksWatch | 2006 Volkswagen Phaeton V8 Road Test

The Phaeton showcases everything Volkswagen knows up to this point.

With elegant wood, sumptuous leather and electronics galore, it is a large ultra-luxury car that can run with the best of them. In fact, the Phaeton beat out the mighty Mercedes S class in a Car And Driver comparison test.

Yet while cruising fast and effortlessly along some of North America’s finest highways, we find it difficult to believe this car wears the VW badge. Perhaps this is unfair to Volkswagen, but perhaps not changing public perception usually doesn’t happen over night.

The Phaeton starts at $67,370 US for the V8 (our test car) and $97,270 for the top-end W12.

Items such as a heated steering wheel, electronic parking assistance, keyless access and power trunk lid are options. In our opinion, nearly everything should be standard VW is a newcomer to this segment and needs to give customers a strong reason to consider a high-priced VW. So why not be a value leader, as the automaker is with other models.

All considered, options can bring the price tags up to a whopping $79,320 (V8) and $104,760 (W12).

However, the standard features are nothing to sneeze at. Like a four-corner air suspension that can be raised and lowered, loosened and stiffened at the touch of a button, resulting in a remarkable difference in handling. To get the most fun out of this big heavy sedan, we kept the suspension at its lowest and sportiest settings, making body lean in corners reasonable.

To call the Phaeton a luxury limousine is not an exaggeration.

Also standard are four-zone climate control, a custom 10-speaker stereo system, navigation system, LED taillights and tire-pressure monitor. We are surprised that bi-xenon headlights are not standard only xenon on the low beams. Even the lowly Jetta and Passat are available with bi-xenons, the latter with a cornering function.

On the road this big VW shows off its Autobahn-bred family lineage with reflexes that are tauter than the competition. The Phaeton goes fast easily and double-pane windows keep speed noise out of the cabin.

Riding and driving in the Phaeton is like spending time in your living room perhaps even more comfortable and luxurious. The interior is gorgeously crafted of quality wood, leather and soft plastic. The dash wood conceals vents that opens only when summoned, a neat feature.

Otherwise fresh air is diffused gently through the top of the dash and not directly on the face, drying out the eyes and contributing to fatigue. This diffuser is available on many new VWs.

Miss your La-Z-Boy? It’s here complete with massage function and foot rests for rear passengers.

The Phaeton’s V8 churns out a healthy and competitive 335 horsepower, good for a zero-to-60 time of 6.5 seconds. This is the same engine as the Audi A8 but called upon to motivate 500 extra pounds. The Audi is made of aluminum, making it lighter and thus more athletic.

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