VW’s new Chinese sedan could preview the next-generation Phaeton

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2015 was a year Volkswagen would rather delete from the collective memory using Agent K’s neuralyzer. The "Dieselgate" scandal caused sales to collapse, executives to resign, and spawned a massive investigation that could change the way production cars are tested before they hit dealerships. Moreover, it will cost the brand millions of dollars to handle all the recalls that resulted from the case and probably more to fix its public image. However, this didn’t stop Volkswagen from developing new models, one of which is the Phideon.

Launched at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the T-Cross Breeze Concept and the new Up!, the Phideon is a large sedan that will slot above the Passat in the company’s lineup. Interestingly enough, the Phideon is about the same size as the Phaeton, which suggests that the Germans have finally decided to offer a new flagship sedan. On the other hand, and this is somewhat strange considering the car made its debut in Geneva, the Phideon will be produced and sold in China, with no plans to offer it in Europe or North America.

As for the awkward name, Volkswagen says it is a made up name that stands for elegance and reliability, while symbolically evoking Fides, the Roman goddess of fidelity.

Is the Phideon a preview of the next-generation Phaeton that VW will sell in Europe and the U.S.? It’s very likely, but we won’t know for sure until Volkswagen spills the beans. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the brand’s new flagship sedan.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Phideon.

  • 2017 Volkswagen Phideon
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2017 Volkswagen Phideon High Resolution Exterior
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Design-wise, the Phideon is a sporty looking sedan that employs Volkswagen’s new styling language. Up front, it carries the brand’s new corporate face with the wide grille with horizontal slats and large, full-LED headlamps. The front fascia is actually based on the C Coupe GTE Concept, introduced at Auto Shanghai in 2015, and features a nearly identical bumper.

The Phideon's profile is simple but elegant, with a noticeable character line running from the front fenders and above the door handles all the way to the deck lid

The Phideon’s profile is simple but elegant, with a noticeable character line running from the front fenders and above the door handles all the way to the deck lid. The rear end brings together styling cues seen on both the new Passat and the C Coupe GTE. The taillights are particularly interesting, featuring a two-tier design with chrome inserts and four distinct LED clusters. The wrap-around chrome strip in the lower body area and the stainless exhaust pipes give the car a premium appearance.

Volkswagen says that the Phideon marks the debut of the new face of Volkswagen luxury sedans, so expect to see similar styling cues on upcoming products. Granted, the Phideon is a stylish four-door and I wouldn’t mind to see a next-generation Phaeton based on it.


Volkswagen has yet to release photos of the Phideon’s interior, but the press release contains a few interesting details. Volkswagen says the sedan was designed as a sporty five-seater, on the one hand appealing to dedicated self-drivers, while on the other hand being perfectly suited for use as a chauffeur-driven limousine." This pretty much means that the Phideon offers generous legroom in the rear, which comes at no surprise given it was developed for the Chinese market, where long-wheelbase vehicles are favored over standard models.

A wrap-around ambient light strip that can switch between three colors is said to create a relaxed, lounge atmosphere.

VW also brags about the Phideon’s luxurious seats that can be electrically adjusted in several directions and have integrated seat ventilation and heating, as well as a massage function. A wrap-around ambient light strip that can switch between three colors is said to create a relaxed, lounge atmosphere.

Moving over to technology, it is equipped with a head-up display that projects information onto the windscreen and the Modular Infotainment Platform with CarPlay and MirrorLink, which can be used to integrated smartphones and use various apps.


2017 Volkswagen Phideon High Resolution Exterior
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The Phideon will be launched with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine rated at 296 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. This mill will mate to the company’s all-wheel drive system and will power the range-topping 3.0 TSI 4Motion model. A 2.0-liter, turbo-four powerplant will also be offered later on, followed by a plug-in hybrid. Volkswagen declined to divulge any info on these drivetrains, but the four-cylinder engine will likely be borrowed from the new Passat.

The Phideon will be launched with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine rated at 296 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque

In China, the said engine pumps 217 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in the midsize sedan. As for the hybrid, it could be the same combo found in the Passat GTE, which mates a 1.4-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a DSG gearbox. In the Passat, total output sits at 215 horses and 295 pound-feet, while total range is estimated at 622 miles (1,001 km), a figure that will probably drop in a larger vehicle.

Arguably the most interesting fact here is that the Phideon rides on Volkswagen Group’s Modular Longitudinal Matrix (MLB) platform, making it the first VW-badged vehicle to use these underpinnings. The platform was introduced in 2007, but until its 2015 update it has been used only by Audi models and the Porsche Macan. The revised MLBEvo (MLB2) ia already being used by the Audi Q7, Audi A4, and the Bentley Bentayga. This architecture gives the Phideon access to state-of-the-art safety and assistance systems, and will probably open the door for newer drivetrains.


The Phideon is packed with assistance systems, including a camera-based night vision that warns the driver if there are people or animals on or near the road and Area View, which uses four wide-angle cameras to improve all-round visibility. The sedan is also equipped with ACC (adaptive cruise control), Front Assist, Park Assist with automatic steering and braking, Lane Assist with lane-departure warning, Side Assist, and a proactive occupant protection system that tensions the safety belts and closes the windows or the sunroof.


There is no pricing information for the Phideon as of this writing, but considering it will slot above the Passat, expect it to cost significantly more than Volkswagen’s popular sedan and match the sticker of the current Chinese-spec Phaeton. The Phideon will be built and sold exclusively in China. The sedan could make it to other Asian markets in the future, but the Germans have yet to confirm that. Don’t expect it to cross the pond to the U.S. though.


Audi A6

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Audi is already moving to the 2016 model year, as it will unveil the slightly revised 2016 A6 at the 2015 LA Auto Show.

While the Passat was too small and mundane to compete against the A6, the larger and more premium Phideon has what it takes to give the midsize Audi a run for its money. Slightly longer than a regular A6, the Phideon is about the same size as the long-wheelbase A6L sold in China, meaning customers are likely to cross-shop the two. The A6L is available with four engines, starting with the 1.8-liter turbo-four rated at 138 horsepower. Next up is the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter V-6, which cranks out 148 horses. More power comes from the 3.0-liter V6 which can be had with either 197 or 242 horsepower. Pricing starts from about $63,820 for the base model and around $116,435 for the range-topping version.

Find out more about the Audi A6 here.


2017 Volkswagen Phideon High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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You might not realize it looking at that Volkswagen badge and the brand’s already familiar design, but the Phideon is a radical departure from the company’s current lineup. The main culprit here is the MLB platform, which allowed VW to pour an enormous amount of new technology in the sedan. Essentially an Audi A6 with an elegant design and an upscale interior, the Phideon is Volkswagen fanciest sedan since the arrival of the Phaeton. In fact, this premium four-door could very well preview the next-generation Phaeton, which should arrive in Europe and the United States in this exact package with subtle modifications and more powerful engines. If this proves to be the case, then Volkswagen has a bright future ahead. At least in the luxury market anyway.

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Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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Press Release

World premiere of a new Volkswagen luxury saloon

Innovative PHIDEON debuts in the premium segment

Newly developed PHIDEON will be launched on the Chinese market in 2016

Design combines sumptuous elegance with impressive dynamics

Ten key facts – the PHIDEON in keywords

1. The Volkswagen PHIDEON is an all-new high-end saloon in the premium segment in China.

2. The innovative PHIDEON is positioned above the Passat and the Magotan, which is available in China.

3. The five metre saloon car is characterised by an extremely elegant yet simultaneously dynamic body design.

4. With its charismatic front end, the PHIDEON paves the way for the future design of Volkswagen’s top-of-the-range saloons.

5. The new PHIDEON was developed in Germany with the assistance of VW’s Chinese partner SAIC Volkswagen. It will be launched in China in the third quarter of 2016.

6. The saloon will be offered with high-efficiency TSI engines (turbocharged petrol engines) and a plug-in hybrid drive is also planned.

7. In Geneva, Volkswagen will unveil the flagship model in the series: the four-wheel drive PHIDEON 3.0 TSI 4MOTION with 300 PS.

8. This high-tech PHIDEON is the first Volkswagen to use a camera-based night vision system.

9. The interior is tailored perfectly to the needs of the driver, with the PHIDEON’s luxurious rear passenger compartment also making it an ideal chauffeur-driven limousine.

10. The PHIDEON is the first Volkswagen to be based on the Modular Longitudinal Matrix (MLB).

In brief – the world premiere of the PHIDEON

Wolfsburg/Geneva, March 2016. The all-new Volkswagen PHIDEON luxury saloon is making its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show. This innovative and luxurious four-door car is positioned above the Passat and the Magotan, which is available in China, and thus in the premium segment. The elegant new five-metre saloon will be launched on the Chinese market in the third quarter of this year. With the debut of the PHIDEON, which was developed and designed in Germany, Volkswagen is adding a crucial pillar to its model range. When designing this car, Volkswagen made use of the technical expertise of its Chinese partner, SAIC Volkswagen. Particularly its extensive experience when it comes to the wishes and requirements of customers went into the creation of this premium saloon. SAIC Volkswagen will also manufacture the new model. The PHIDEON also sees the debut of the new “face” of Volkswagen’s luxury saloons. Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design Volkswagen Brand: “The new PHIDEON, with its equally powerful and charismatic front end, its flowing and yet precisely drawn lines and the exceedingly dynamic proportions, exudes highest presence and superiority, while the PHIDEON’s progressive design corresponds to the high level of its technical innovations. Thus this avant-garde model, designed in Europe for our style-conscious Chinese customers, was born.” Volkswagen’s design team is proud of the fact that it was possible to derive the PHIDEON almost directly from the breath-taking C Coupé GTE concept car, which was presented at Auto Shanghai in 2015, with only minor changes. From a technical perspective, the PHIDEON is the first Volkswagen to be based on the Modular Longitudinal Matrix (MLB). Its name – PHIDEON – is a construct standing for elegance and reliability, and phonetically and symbolically evokes Fides, the Roman goddess of fidelity.

The engines – turbocharged direct injection petrol engine with up to 300 PS

TSI engines. The top-of-the-range model – the PHIDEON 3.0 TSI 4MOTION, which comes with four-wheel drive as standard – is powered by a 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged direct injection petrol engine that produces 220 kW/300 PS. This efficient TSI develops maximum torque of 440 Nm. The new five-seater from Volkswagen will also be available as a 2.0 TSI (with four-cylinder engines) with front-wheel drive. A model with a plug-in hybrid drive is also planned for the future.

The exterior – a saloon car with the dynamism of a coupé

Sporty proportions. The PHIDEON is 5.05 metres long, 1.87 metres wide and 1.48 metres high. Between the extremely short front and rear overhangs for a car of this size is a long wheelbase of over three metres, which give this saloon car particularly sporty proportions. The eye-catching long bonnet gives the car style and lends it sovereign “prestigious dimensions”. This design terminology describes the distance between the front door reveal and the centre of the front axle. The greater this distance, the longer the bonnet can be without needing to extend the front overhang. This means that a long bonnet combined with a short front overhang results in an especially powerful and elegant premium class design. In combination with the elongated cabin, this results in an inimitably powerful and simultaneously elegant, flowing layout of the PHIDEON.

A new face. Apart from the sharp contours of the bonnet, the front is characterised by the wide and comparatively high radiator grille consisting of four chrome bars, with two of the chrome-plated crossbars framing the dual LED headlights integrated in the three-dimensional architecture of the radiator grille; the bold unit consisting of the grille, headlights and LED daytime running lights forms the “face” of the PHIDEON. This design DNA will also be found in the brand’s future high-end saloons. The exclusive overall impression of the PHIDEON is rounded off by a wrap-around chrome border, which elegantly finishes the lower section sloping down towards the rear.

An elegant silhouette. The side profile is characterised by a character line formed by two lines – a distinctive, razor-sharp drawn-out line over two surfaces, extending from the front wings to the back in the boot lid. This double character line develops into a powerful shoulder. The large wheel arches are also defining design traits, reaching far up into the vehicle body and underlining the PHIDEON’s dynamism. Another striking feature: the alloy wheels, derived directly from the C Coupé GTE.

Powerful rear section. Like the front end, the design of the rear is also dominated by a horizontal division of the surfaces, accentuating the car’s width. The character lines, which run around the car right up to the boot lid, frame the upper rim of the LED rear lights. A wrap-around chrome strip in the lower body area ends in stainless steel exhaust tailpipes, adding a dynamic visual highlight.

The interior – drive and be driven

Modern ambience. The PHIDEON was designed as a sporty five-seater, on the one hand appealing to dedicated self-drivers, while on the other hand being perfectly suited for use as a chauffeur-driven limousine with its generous spaciousness. The interior is thus both sporty and elegant. The dashboard and the interior architecture are designed to focus on the technical design and driving dynamics in the cockpit. The luxurious seats (in the front and rear passenger compartments) can be electrically adjusted in several directions, including individual settings for the ergonomically curved sides, and have integrated seat ventilation and heating as well as a massage function. The design team created a relaxed lounge atmosphere. The atmosphere inside the car is also made more pleasant by a wrap-around ambient light strip that can switch between three different colours.

Convenience and driver assistance systems – high-end technologies

Innovative convenience systems. The new PHIDEON offers excellent convenience features. For instance, the sports saloon continues the Volkswagen tradition introduced to the top segment with the Phaeton of a chassis equipped with an air suspension system, similar to the systems used by fellow Volkswagen Group brand Bentley. The PHIDEON is equipped with latest generation of this technology, with five individually selectable driving modes. Another new feature is the electric soft-closing system for the doors, called “Soft Close”, which harmonises perfectly with the stylish, luxurious and noiseless ambience on board.

MLB assistance systems. This new saloon has the full technology spectrum of the Modular Longitudinal Matrix (MLB) at its disposal. When it comes to driving information, this includes features such as a head-up display (which projects information onto the windscreen) and a camera-based night vision system that warns the driver if there are people or animals on or near the road, even in pitch-black darkness or in fog, allowing the driver to react significantly faster. When manoeuvring, Area View – a system with four wide-angle cameras – improves all-round visibility. Other assistance systems include ACC (adaptive cruise control), Front Assist (surroundings monitoring system), Park Assist (assisted parking with automatic steering and braking), Lane Assist (camera-based lane-departure warning system), Side Assist (lane-changing assistant), the proactive occupant protection system (which tensions the safety belts and closes the windows or the sunroof) and Light Assist (which automatically dips the high beam). These systems protect the occupants of the PHIDEON, while also giving consideration to other road users. Last but not least, the new Volkswagen is characterised by optimum connectivity. This is ensured by the latest systems provided by the integrated Modular Infotainment Platform (MIB). CarPlay™(Apple) and MirrorLink™(Android) can be used to integrate almost any common smartphone, using various apps to control the infotainment system.

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