2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8 Regular Car Review Talks About Stealth Wealth

Many people have a soft spot for the Volkswagen Phaeton. It's mainly transmitted through word of mouth, not direct contact with the car. Your friend says he has a friend who has a friend who knows a guy with a Phaeton, and it's just as good as an Audi A8… but cheaper.
2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8 Regular Car Review Talks About Stealth Wealth 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
Being an ultra-luxury sedan from a company who's name translates as "people's car", the Phaeton has always been surrounded by controversy. The word gets tossed around a lot, but what did "luxury" mean in 2004 and how does it translate today?

We hope you will find the answers in this Regular Car Reviews video about a 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8. Somebody bought this thing new 11 years ago for $80,000. Yeah, that's extremely expensive, considering the badge and the fact that the most expensive Cadillac was about 60k.

But Volkswagen wanted to build this car to the higher standards. And because everything is solid, it's aged very well.

Ironically, the Phaeton survives to this day because it does a job it was not designed for. We're talking about the Chinese market that gobbles up old VW sedans at the rate of around 20,000 per year. Company officials there say there is enough demand to keep making this 2002 car until 2020.

Mister Regular says the Phaeton is the car for people with stealth wealth, who earn their money through hard work and don't want to show off. Only a few thousand were bought by Americans, so maybe the land of promise is more about showing everybody you've made it.

So maybe the Phaeton would have been more successful if it had embraced the excess and the luxury fully. With gullwing doors and harsh exhaust sound, it could have been the Escalade of its generation. But instead, the engineers just wanted to make it as comfortable as possible, a home away from home for the discrete millionaire.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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