Volkswagen's new luxury salon Phaeton is conceived to set new
standards in its class and the motoring press attested that VW has
achieved this target in the end which is why VW's Phaeton will
probably reach the reputation of the XJ, A8, 7-series and S-class in
Germany. Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, so he will be
re-elected in this year's September 22th, drives it and many
industry captains have ordered one, amongst them Porsche CEO
Wendelin Wiedeking. Nice start isn't it? High time to make a version
for billionaires and artists who would like to present themselves in
Germany's latest high society limo, a car that stands out of their
colleagues' Maybach 62 in appearance and in conception as well.
> THE BODY
At the first impression you may think it is merely a stretched
Phaeton but there's some more than the first sight reveals. Beside
the additional middle section, the new D/E-column differs
significantly from the C-column of the original Phaeton including
its rear window. The new column is more steep and the window is less
inclined than the one of the basis. Similar in style of the Mercedes
Benz S 600 Pullmann of the 1960's and 1970's ( W 100 ) that detail
makes it contrasting from the rest of the European stretch car
competitors. Many people love this straight and bright appearance.
The new Maybach, the flagship of the DaimlerChrysler combine, looks
really great but its design language is more organic, more an Italian
or British one whereas the silhouette of the Phaeton XXL emphasises
the clear and simple traditional German styling.
> THE FACE
The most criticised part of Volkswagen's flagship is undoubtedly its
front. Not that it would be a stylistically failed creation but many
brickbats refer to the Passat-like face although this objection is
not justifiable. Volkswagen needs an unmistakeable look like Mercedes,
Jaguar, BMW and so on, and the Phaeton looks sufficiently different
to the Passat despite the requirements of a family face. In order to
give the XXL version a more noble touch the concept car bears chrome
stripes between the headlights and the indicators below. Running
into the wings they give, together with the chrome trim refinements
at the rear mirrors, an impressive luxurious appearance to the front.
The grille's badge is detached although this is just a question of
the point of view. People who like it because of its origin would
prefer the original Phaeton grille for sure whereas those who love
to own something different to the common vehicles, how exclusive
they ever may be, certainly would take the neutral grill insert.
Click on the image to view a larger version.
> THE ENTRANCE
VW offers, of course, the whole range of these day's comfort and
safety features but there is a plenty of improvements in spite the
fact that the Phaeton has clearly beaten the S-class in many
comparative tests. Most of the improvements are currently in
realisation and delays the production and delivering, as well as
many other problems concerning electronics and air suspension.
Whilst the existing technology matures to perfection the XXL concept
turns attention to a suboptimal matter unnoted so far in the luxury
class except the coming Rolls Royce. All the sophisticated features
relate to inside-convenience but how the passenger gets into the car
seems to be unimportant. In matters of entrance the Phaeton XXL
combines the advantages of various ideas. The first feature is a
wider access opening made possible by a missing column between the
rear doors which are hinged in suicide style. In addition to this,
the seats move automatically to an individually pre-adjusted
position when opening the door and it isn't occupied to allow the
most comfortable way to access the vehicle. To get out of it there
should be an automatic and an individually operated option provided.
> THE DOORS
But an easy entry isn't merely a matter of the access opening's dimension.
It's also one of the doors that cap it! Pushing the door handle both doors
open at the same time by means of an electro motor. Consequently the door
handle is more a switch than an opening lever. Closing them works, natch,
the other way round!