Phaeton XXL banner

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.

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 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.
VW Phaeton XXL concept, Version A - left-front view

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.

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!

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