Preview: 2011 Volkswagen Phaeton facelift

The updated Phaeton is expected to get Volkswagen’s new edgier corporate look

The updated Phaeton is expected to get Volkswagen’s new edgier corporate look

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Volkswagen will be updating its Phaeton flagship for the second time in its short life, reaffirming the lackluster opinion of the car in the full-size luxury sedan market. With a brand new BMW 7-series already on sale, a facelifted Mercedes Benz S-Class just around the corner and a completely redesigned Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ less than a year away, VW’s entrant in this segment is facing a serious uphill battle.

With the introduction of the first facelifted model last year, sales of the Phaeton in Europe actually rose. Now, with a possible return to the U.S. on the cards, VW is hoping to maximize the potential for success of its stumbling flagship.

The facelifted Phaeton will be getting several minor styling changes as evidenced by these latest spy shots. The changes to the car will be mainly cosmetic, with a redesigned front grille and new bumpers, plus a more pedestrian-friendly reshaped bonnet. The styling will be influenced by VW’s new edgier corporate look that was first seen on the Mark VI Golf, as revealed by this computer generated rendering.

The powertrain lineup will also likely be revitalized, with a range of more fuel-efficient engines introduced in line with more stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations. A hybrid variant may also be introduced.

Expect to see the latest version bow in late next year as a 2011 model.
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Comments (10)
  1. sweet. make it even more generic in appearance. this thing will continue to get ripped apart by the S-Class, status and sales-wise.

  2. Not as stunning as the first one but definitely a step ahead of the LOOK AT ME!!! S class.

  3. There has to be a market for the more sophisticated look of the Phaeton compared to the strange appearances of the MB and BMW competitors and the down right tackiness of the Asian "competitors".

    The Phaeton and A8 are definitely top of the class in appearance. (maybe tone down the chrome a bit, though)

  4. Right here baby, I'm the market (when I can afford them). The other day I saw the W12 Phaeton driving in front of me, definitely not an every day accurrence. That's a good looking car there. If I wasn't so afraid of spending $300 a month in gas and god knows how much in repairs I'd buy one. OK, maybe the V8 version.

  5. I like Volkswagen cars but do believe they should just leave this segment to their cousin Audi.

  6. Great looking car and I hope VW is moving away from the giant chrome grill.

  7. The previous one looked better. The front end treatment on this reminds me of the late '90s Passat, definitely not the image VW wants to conjure up. They should make it like a larger CC, similar to how Jag is making the XJ a larger XF. Every time I see a CC on the road, I can't help thinking that it is one of the best looking current sedans, especially from the front. I'd much rather have one than the Merc CLS, and I'd save more than a few grand, too.

  8. Nice car no doubt…wasn’t this the car that was meant to take the fight to the “old guard” Mercedes & BMW.
    Surely VW must be bleeding money on this car given that it would have cost a bomb to R & D vs sales.
    I’m surprised that vw didnt cull this model earlier and now they have the new CC.

  9. I have a current V8 Phaeton, this facelift does nothing to impress. No offense, but it looks like a lower priced Passat. VW needs to get in the game a model closer to the A8 look! This will not impress anyone looking to spend close to $100K

  10. I have an 04. This car rocks! Be ready to drive to the gas pump ever other day! I drove in an A8, no comparison. Maybe to a Bentley? The interior is first class. This car turns heads because there are so few on the road.

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