Last post on Dec 06, 2013 at 6:17 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37, Acura TL, Lexus IS 350, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S60, Audi A4, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#1383 of 16983 Phaeton is a hand-built luxury car for the discreet buyer.
Mar 17, 2004 (8:38 am)
"Volkwagen's Phaeton is a luxury car for people who prefer to wear their designer labels on the inside of their clothing.
If you can afford a hand-built luxury car but don't need to go around with a three-pointed star or a leaping cat or a flying lady hood ornament to proclaim your arrival, then you may find that this new $64,600 VW more than meets your needs.
We use the word "more" because the Phaeton offers a luxury car with a 12-cylinder engine for about the price of a V8-powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Phaeton comes standard with features such as a navigation system for about what you'd pay for a basic short-wheelbase 7 Series BMW.
Volkswagen is moving upscale and the Phaeton is its new luxury sedan, the flagship of a fleet that in the North American market includes the Golf, New Beetle, Jetta, Eurovan, Passat, and the new Touareg sport-utility. In 2006 we should see a modern interpretation of the hippies' favorite, the VW Microbus, followed, perhaps, by a new, mid-engine, two-seat sports car. The expansion of the Volkswagen brand is part of an effort to widen the scope of the entire VW Group, an automotive empire that includes VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley. In 1999, the Volkswagen Group ranked sixth in worldwide sales, but subsequently has overtaken Renault/Nissan and DaimlerChrysler and trails only General Motors, Ford and Toyota.
The term phaeton dates back to days of horse-drawn carriages, and then was applied for special, coach-built touring cars with custom features. In the case of the Volkswagen Phaeton, most of those custom features are included as standard equipment." -- Larry Edsall, automotive.com
Mar 17, 2004 (9:00 am)
I remember a few years back when I first remember hearing this term "near-luxury" car. At the time, most of them were rebadged Camrys (ES300), Nissans (I30), etc. Thus, many people considered them to basically be fancier Camrys et. al., with higher stickers. These cars didn't differ much from their platform-mates and were lacking many of the luxury features of the "true" luxury cars.
It seems to me like the term may be a bit more problematic now. Yes, the ES330 is still built on the Camry platform and the I35 is still based on the Maxima. However, they look a lot different than the base cars now, and have quite a few more luxury features than before.
In addition, the lower-end luxury models are now featuring extremely nice interiors, many luxury features, etc. Even though my '04 TL is considered near-luxury, the interior still feels every bit as nice to me as my old '93 BMW 525i did, if not more so. Now, I'm not going to throw a grenade in the tent by trying to compare the handling of the two cars
Maybe entry-level luxury is a better term for these cars now...
#1385 of 16983 less than 320 discreet buyers this year
Mar 17, 2004 (10:07 am)
Yeah, a very select group are willing to pay 60k for a VW. Boy those trailblazers.
This isn't like Toyota creating Lexus and the groundbreaking 35k LS400. Toyota had a great reputation - something VW doesn't have. Toyota created a luxury brand from scratch and populated it with a vehicle that mirrored the big boy on the block - MB but for less money. VW's Phaeton mirrors...the Passat. Oh, there's a marketing coup!
Lets nail down the logic. We've got a company well known for mechanical and electrical problems offering a high priced luxo-cruiser under the same banner as 16k economy cars and the new car most closely resembles a 23-40k mid-size sedan. That's just brilliant.
Gosh, I sure hope Ford comes out with a plus-sized version of the Taurus and sells it for 50k. That'd be keen.
Branding. That's what it's all about in the luxury arena. Ask MB about the Maybach.
#1386 of 16983 VW Designer Dud
Mar 17, 2004 (12:55 pm)
The Phaeton will be a bigger and much costlier bust than the W8 Passat which went nowhere in sales. And that was a $38-40K car. Yeah VW quality is in the toilet literally. VW execs. should take a good hard look from Japan, you gotta have a solid foundation before you reach for the glam and glitz. Why not promote the A8 more which never was a big seller instead of handicaping it with a near twin. Real smart eh!
But there is good in that VW tech.s will have even greater job security now that the Phaeton's out.
Mar 17, 2004 (1:08 pm)
It seems like it would be better for VW to move slowly up market rather than such a large leap. Most reviews I've read have been pretty positive, but they all question whether buyers will be willing to forgo the snob appeal to obtain a better value in their luxury cars.
The Phaeton is a pretty nice looking car (IMHO) and in some ways it might be nice to have a car that doesn't scream "I have lots of money".
As far as quality goes, the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class have been having some quality problems of their own lately.
Mar 17, 2004 (2:42 pm)
Now really, the Phaeton and the 7-Series and the S-Class are not anywhere close to the "near" or entry-level" lux category.
How about if we just say $32k to $42k as a minimum requirement for eligibility in this discussion? That would at least keep us within some workable range.
I want to change "Near" to Entry-Level" in the title. How about if I also drop performance? I think that should make unnecessary some of the carryings-on about what belongs here and what doesn't.
Let me hear what you have to say and I'll make up my mind tomorrow.
Mar 17, 2004 (3:18 pm)
Keep performance...otherwise I35 and ES330 owners will be in here babbling about smooth rides.
Mar 17, 2004 (3:24 pm)
I'm fine with your suggested changes. Dropping "performance" from the moniker should only add the ES330 (among the imports) to the discussion, as that car is the only car that is decidely "non-performance" in this price cateogry.
I read the G35x Follow-Up Test on Edmunds, and I pretty much agree with what the writer said. The design of the interior is fine (except I'm not a big fan of the orange lights) and I actually feel that the quality of the leather seats is better than the seats in the TL or the 3 series. Hopefully, they'll really lick the dash material quality issues in the 2005 model.
Mar 17, 2004 (5:00 pm)
is that 32k to 42k with or without options? either way? i guess it would have to be, wouldn't it? and i assume we are talking MSRP numbers, right? I feel its a given, but you just know someone will be over here saying "but this guy says he knows a guy who read somewhere that this other guy bought a CTSV for $42K." so we'll probably want to put a stop to that now and specify its MSRP numbers.
Mar 17, 2004 (5:47 pm)
Why can't we just accept that everyone has a different opinion of where the near luxury line is drawn.
For example, Riez stated that he thinks the IS300 is higher on the food chain than the 325i, probably because it has a larger, more powerful engine (and he owns a couple of them).
I however, consider the 325i higher on the food chain than the IS300 because it's just as quick, but more refined and mature, in my opinion.
Price doesn't work either because of my admittedly biased opinion that the TSX belongs in the same league as the 325i and IS300 because it offers similar performance and luxury, but only costs $26,000.
And then there's the Mazda 6s and V-6 Accord, which offer performance and luxury on par with many of the cars here, yet they simply lack breeding (brand identification).
For a car to be a true "near-luxury" performance sedan, I believe it must possess some combination of all of these traits, in varying degrees.
Maybe a formula could be devised assigning points for luxury brand name, overall performance, quality interior/cockpit, exterior elegance, overall driving refinement.