Doug DeMuro Reviews a Phaeton, the $120,000 Volkswagen

Nowadays, we take the fact that Volkswagen also makes expensive cars for granted. But the trend started with this car, the Phaeton. Born from the ambition of its bosses, it showed that a budget brand could compete with the luxury big boys.
Doug DeMuro Reviews a Phaeton, the $120,000 Volkswagen 1 photo
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The Phaeton was only sold in the United States for two years. Back in 2004, the base price was $95,000, which sounds like a lot even today. However, if it's adjusted for inflation, the sticker jumps to around $120,000. That's more money than a Maserati Quattroporte S Q4.

Doug DeMuro's videos are famous for one thing, and that's pointing out weird quirks. For example, the Phaeton has sun shades even for the rear quarter windows. I don't know... the way he says it makes this feature seem even weirder than it actually is.

Over a decade ago, Volkswagen put heated, ventilated and massaging seats in the back of the Phaeton, features very few cars have even today. We just want to point out that the cream leather in this particular example looks amazing. Even the lid of the fuse panel is dampened in this car, as Volkswagen spared no expense to compete with the S-Class.

When it came out, this was one of the most over-engineer cars on the road, and it stayed in production for far longer than you think. The Phaeton basically put Volkswagen on the map as a luxury automaker.

Ferdinand Karl Piëch gave his engineering team five task that was seemingly so difficult that half of them left. We only know what one of those were: driving at 300 km/h, the car must maintain a temperature of 25 degrees while the outside temperature is 50 degrees. Which sounds like overkill because the Phaeton is limited to 250 km/h. So why the W12 engine? Well, apparently, if de-restricted, it's as fast as a Lamborghini. That's impressive for a car in which you can't hear the engine.

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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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