To mark 20 Phaetonth anniversary, Volkswagen surprised us by releasing images of what was supposed to be its direct successor. That never happened, especially as the electrification push after the disorganized Dieselgate prompted the higher-ups to shift the company’s priorities and go full EV. As a result, the full-size luxury sedan was left on the cutting room floor to focus on what would become the MEB platform.
Snoops from Wolfsburg now reminisce about how the second-generation Phaeton was actually close enough to hit the assembly line. Shown here is a fully running one-off prototype, you can easily believe it’s a production car. This magnificent sedan adopts a distinctive VW design with a chrome grille flanked by headlamps similar to the current Touareg.
At the rear, the taillights exude Skoda Superb vibes, which isn’t too surprising since the canceled Phaeton was designed by Jozef Kaba who wrote the Czech top range. The wide chrome bar creates a visual connection between the taillights in the same vein as on the facelifted Superb. Exhaust enhancements similar to the Arteon are connected to a dual exhaust arrangement which hints at a powerful powertrain.
Long doors provide access to the luxurious cabin with ample legroom at the rear where each seat is separated by a wide center console. The latter houses a removable tablet as well as a switch for seat adjustment. VW has made generous use of wood and leather throughout the interior along with the installation of a two-panel sunroof and rear seat entertainment system.
The dashboard will look familiar as it is largely the same as the one used in the current Touareg with the so-called Innovision Cockpit. A closer look at the lower center console shows the similar placement of the gear lever, cup holders and switchgear. Frameless mirrors, leather-wrapped dashboard, and metallic accents add to the sophistication of the Phaeton cabin but without looking as luxurious as the interior of the Audi A8.
Just like the Touareg on sale today, the car is supposed to use the MLB Evo platform that already underpins the A8 as well as other big VAG models. It should be noted that VW’s core brand does have a large sedan that uses this architecture as the China-only Phideon is considered the spiritual successor of the Phaeton.
Now that VW has decided to show the Phaeton that never existed, maybe it’s time for Jaguar to do the same with its canceled XJ?