February 29, 2016, 8:55 PM
Remember the Volkswagen Phaeton, the full-sized flagship of Volkswagen’s sedan lineup, with a 12-cylinder engine that put out 444 hp? Well it looks as if the company is ready to launch its replacement, starting with a new ultra-luxury sedan for China —Phideon.
Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, Phideon is a premium sedan of gigantic proportions, coming in at over five metres in length. It is due to launch in the Chinese market in the third quarter of 2016. It may not be exactly the same when it comes to replacing Phaeton, but its characteristics and features will be similar, and it will pave the road for future luxury VWs.
“The new PHIDEON, with its equally powerful and charismatic front end, its flowing and yet precisely drawn lines and the exceedingly dynamic proportions, exudes highest presence and superiority, while the PHIDEON’s progressive design corresponds to the high level of its technical innovations,” says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design Volkswagen Brand.
It was developed in Germany with input from SAIC, VW’s Chinese production partner, and holds closely to the design concept of the C Coupé GTE concept car introduced at last years Shanghai Auto Show, and actually borrows the alloy wheel design from the concept.
The name is reportedly derived from Fides, the Roman goddess of trust, good faith and fidelity. In contrast Phaethon, in Greek mythology, was the son of Apollo who was allowed to drive the golden chariot but lost control of it and was shot down by a Zeus thunderbolt when it seemed the Earth was in danger.
Although there are rumours the new Phaeton will only be available as an electric car, the Chinese market Phideon will use direct-injected gasoline engines, as well as a plug-in electric hybrid, with the stage model in Geneva being the 3.0 TSI 4Motion model — 3.0-litre turbocharged V-6 making 296 hp and distributing 324 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a 6-speed dual clutch automatic — the flagship of the series in China. The car can also be equipped with VW’s venerable 2.0-litre turbo “four” in a front-wheel drive platform.
Comfortable ride and impressive handling is provided by the latest iteration of the air suspension (with five driver-selectable modes) from Phaeton and Volkswagen’s Bentley group
Among its noteworthy features is a camera-based night vision system (that warns of pedestrians or animals on or near the road even in total darkness), a four-camera Area View for parking assistance, and soft-close doors all around (as well as a soft close trunk lid). It, of course, has the usual suite of driving aids such as lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise and head-up display.
Thanks to its modular longitudinal platform (MLB), Phideon is able to provide rear seat accommodations for three that are limousine worthy, particularly important for Chinese dignitaries. All outboard seats feature multiple power adjustments to further comfort, while a wraparound light strip provides ambience in three interchangeable colours.
The Wrangler is not just a vehicle: it’s a lifestyle statement
The MKZ, introduced just last year, has been heavily revised for 2017
Foresters have a lot to recommend them but can develop a thirst for oil