Product Deep Dive – 2016 Volkswagen Phaeton

Posted on: Jan 23, 2013 - 5:00pm IST

There are two types of people in the world. One who like to wear their bank account wherever they go and then there are others who find doing so as extremely ostentatious and garish.

2016 Volkswagen Phaeton2016 Volkswagen Phaeton rear

The Volkswagen Phaeton is for the second lot – people that would only like to show you the tip of the iceberg. In simple words, the Phaeton is meant for Warren Buffett and not for Snoop Dog.

Sadly, there are very few people like Warren Buffett on this planet. As a result, in its 10 years of existence, the Phaeton has not been able to make a strong mark on the automotive industry.

To give you an idea – in 2011 Volkswagen sold 10,270 units of the Phaeton worldwide; in the same duration Mercedes sold 68,969 S-Class models. And is the VW Phaeton any less of a car than a Mercedes S-Class? Absolutely not!

But thanks to the demand for the Phaeton from China, South Korea, Russia, UK and of course Germany, the Phaeton lives on for yet another iteration.

Here are all the details of the 2016 VW Phaeton

  • The next generation Phaeton will be a ‘retirement legacy’ of Dr. Martin Winterkorn, VW Group CEO, and Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, VW product development chief. Thus, VW is intending to design and develop the next gen flagship right from scratch.
  • The current VW Phaeton sits on a 10 year old platform which is a steel monocoque. The all-new Phaeton will be based on VW’s new MLB platform that will also underpin the next generation Audi A8, couple of Bentleys and the entire Porsche Panamera family.
  • Thanks to the MLB platform, the 2016 VW Phaeton will be largely built out of aluminum in order to shed as much weight as possible. This will make it more fuel efficient and kinder to the environment.
  • It will also debut a new design language that will influence the entire future VW range. However, the car will not lose its basic product philosophy of being a straightforward sedan for the person who is successful but doesn’t feel the need to show it.
  • Volkswagen wants the new Phaeton to rival the likes of Jaguar XJ and not compete with BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class.
  • Volkswagen plans to tailor it for the U.S. and China. Thus, it will also grow in size and a long wheelbase version is also expected for China.
  • The W12 motor will be dropped from the range thanks to the recent trend of downsizing engines. The engine options will be restricted to V6s and V8s both in petrol and diesel avatar

[Rendering Courtesy –]

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One thought on “Product Deep Dive – 2016 Volkswagen Phaeton

  1. Robt says:

    The next Phaeton NEEDS to compete with the BMW 7 series, Mercedes S class, and the Audi A8 for that matter, otherwise what’s the point?

    Generally, VW is not known as a luxury car maker, but they need to pull out all the stops with the next Phaeton to ensure it doesn’t go the same way as Phaeton’s Mk1 and Mk2 (the latter being the current Phaeton).

    I think having a hatchback is a great idea as it gives an alternative to a luxury high-end saloon (sedan), but VW have to make it drive as good as it looks, they have to include everything you can think of, walnut trim, tinted glass and much more!.

    They have to market it as a luxury vehicle despite (wearing a VW badge) and not be too modest or blow it all by apologising for producing a high-end luxury car. Make it challenge BMW, Mercedes, and Audi instead of falling short.

    They might also like to be creative with how they name the next generation Phaeton hatchback and call it a ‘fastback’ or ‘sportback’ instead of actually calling it a hatchback.

    Most of all though, VW need to get it right with the next Phaeton and pitch it at the appropriate people and against appropriate rivals – like the 7 series, S class and A8. Anything less isn’t worth it. VW have the CC coupe, but this is more to rival the BMW 6 series, and Audi A7.


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Kaustubh Shinde

They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store.Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!