2017 Volkswagen Phideon
VW’s new Chinese sedan could preview the next-generation Phaetonby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 09:14
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
Horsepower @ RPM:296
Torque @ RPM:325
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.
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.
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.
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.