This is the Mk2 Volkswagen Phaeton we never got | Top Gear
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Monday 28th November
Concept

This is the Mk2 Volkswagen Phaeton we never got

The Phaeton went through many facelifts during its life. Here’s the second-generation it never quite reached

Published: 08 Jul 2022
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The Volkswagen Phaeton was killed off in 2016 after fourteen years in production (and many, many facelifts), which meant we never got to see a fully-fledged second generation of the luxury saloon. Until now.

Yup, this ladies and gents is the Mk2 Phaeton that we could’ve had if VW bosses hadn’t decided that the company needed to concentrate on electrification and not another second-hand car market legend.

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Known internally as the Phaeton D2, the vehicle you see here was chosen from four different concept designs, penned by VW’s current heads of exterior and interior design, Marco Pavone and Tomasz Bachorski.

Apparently it got the nod because of its ‘sporty and flat contours’ and its interior quality, but Volkswagen was dealing with the fallout from the Dieselgate scandal at the time and with priorities shifting it never got the green light to enter production. But, y’know, at least we have the ID. Buzz now.

“The car still has a very attractive appearance and beautiful proportions, and it impresses with its tangible high quality and value,” says Jozef Kabaň, VW’s head of design and the man Pavone and Bachorski now report to.

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Bachorski observes: “The fact that the Phaeton D2 was ahead of its time can be seen today in features such as the curved display, which was planned for the Phaeton successor and which was launched on the market in 2018 in the Touareg’s Innovision Cockpit.”

Oh what might’ve been. The original is something of a hero of course, not least because its residual value had a tendency to plummet and therefore looked like a steal when it eventually ended up in the classifieds.

Engine line-up wasn’t bad either: at launch your choices were a 3.2-litre V6 with 237bhp, and 6.0-litre W12 producing 414bhp, or a 5.0-litre V10 diesel churning out 308bhp and 750Nm of torque. Wot, no V8?

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