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February 25, 2005
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Volkswagen Phaeton W12:
Cleared For Take Off
By Steve Litscher

(February 8, 2005)

VW Phaeton: Luxury, Style, Class & Performance

Inside the Volkswagen Phaeton - nothing but quality

Plenty of back seat room in the VW Phaeton

A sleek body covers oodles of performance goodies. VW Phaeton.

Official Web site:
We climbed into the premium, leather-adorned cockpit, fiddled with an array of dials and switches, ran through our checklists, adjusted the radio and tightened our seatbelts. We were cleared for take-off, and as we applied full-throttle, a big grin drew its way across our passengers' faces. As we approached cruising speed, we activated the ventilated, massaging seats and suggested that rear seat passengers "Recline, relax, and enjoy the ride."

Sounds like a pretty nice corporate jet, doesn't it? Well hold on to your hat, Myrtle, because this ain't no jet; it's the Volkswagen Phaeton W12. This top of the line luxury cruiser comes to you by way of the same folks that promoted peace, love and happiness with their Beetle and Vanagons. We'll give you a minute to catch your breath.

The brainchild of former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech, the Volkswagen Phaeton W12 represents the crown jewel of an effort on VW's behalf to enter into the luxo-cruiser market. You know, the same market that attracts the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and to a lesser extent, Bentley and Maybach. We threw in those last two because the Phaeton really is right at home as a chaueffered car. Heck, we got as much of a kick from being driven around in the Phaeton W12 as we did driving it, so the comparison seems only natural.

In fact, the Phaeton W12 is so comfortable and powerful, we're surprised that more businesses don't take advantage of it for business travel purposes. On the highway, the big Phaeton gobbles up mile markers like Pac-Man on a power pellet binge. It'll run down a couple hundred miles in no time, and its passengers will be none the worse for wear, thanks to an interior that's nothing but first class.

Our Phaeton W12 was configured as a "4-seater" model, meaning that each passenger has his own seat and set of armrests. The driver's seat is 18-way power adjustable, the passenger's seat is 16-way power adjustable, and rear seat passengers can fiddle with their 10-way adjustable (including reclining) seats. All of the seats are ventilated for heat and air conditioning and feature memory, lumbar support, and power massage. There's nothing quite like a conference call while enjoying a Shiatsu massage on the highway at 70 miles per hour. Trust us.

All of the seating surfaces were wrapped in gorgeous leather that would rival some of 'ole Louie V's finest. The furniture grade walnut (you can choose from chestnut, myrtle or eucalyptus for an extra $500) is integrated seemlessly with the dashboard, door panels and consoles, and the chome accents on the door handles and instrument cluster finish off an interior that is nothing short of exquisite. Ambient-style lighting runs from front to rear to showcase the fine craftsmanship.

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