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Volkswagen maintains a good reputation for sporty, affordable, and comfortable cars that are both accessible and elegant. But not long ago, the team at Volkswagen slipped out of their sensible shoes and into a pair of red-bottomed heels. The Volkswagen Phaeton was an outrageous addition to their lineup, a limousine sedan teetering on the edge of ultra-luxury.

The Volkswagen Phaeton is the most luxurious Volkswagen ever

The Phaeton is Volkswagen’s $100,000+ ultra-luxury car that most people have never even heard of. It was only produced from 2012 to 2016 so you can be forgiven for missing it. And even if you you saw one, it probably didn’t catch your eye anyway. That can be said of a majority of ultra-luxury sedans. After all, they aren’t made to stand out like the Lamborghini Gallardo. Instead, the Phaeton was designed to carry passengers in premium comfort without catching attention.

The Volkswagen Phaeton was an out-of-character premium luxury car that once cost over $100,000 and now...can be yours for less than $10k.
Volkswagen Phaeton | Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s understated Bentley alternative

The Phaeton shared a lot in common with the Audi A8 and even the Bentley Continental GT. The external features were modest, even through a mid-cycle refresh halfway through production. Premium wood grain accents and 18-way power-adjustable front seats transport driver and passenger in opulence. Alcantara trim, a range of leather choices, and even an optional refrigerator round out the high-end touches.

It, of course, has all of the features you’d expect from a luxury sedan. And it provided equal luxury both up front and in the rear. Front and rear seat heating and four-zone climate control provide the ultimate in comfort, even by modern standards.

The Phaeton did sport some more uncommon features as well to give it a leg-up over the competition. The back seats were ventilated, the sun shades didn’t just extend over the back windows but also the rear windshield and smaller windows in the back seat. Even the back seats offered massage. A decade before the latest BMW 7 Series.

Stacked against the odds

The Volkswagen Phaeton is one of the most expensive production Volkswagens ever created, and while it might stack up well against other ultra-luxury cars, it does have one thing working against it, and that’s the brand.

For many people, buying an expensive luxury car is just as much a display of wealth as it is for convenience. The Phaeton may have everything to offer that other high-end luxury sedans do, but the name Volkswagen just doesn’t have the same prestige.

Volkswagen Phaeton
A Phaeton luxury limosuine at the Volkswagen transparent factory in Dresden, Germany | Ralf Hirschberger/picture alliance via Getty Images

Unfortunately for Volkswagen the Phaeton just didn’t make the sales figures in the United States and Europe as it might have hoped. However, it did better in China and South Korea where Volkswagens were altogether less common.

For the big spenders who care more about the car than the name brand, the Phaeton is an excellent, underrated choice. Considering today, these CarGurus listings show you can get a Phaeton for less than $10,000, it’s a true luxury bargain.

Related Volkswagen Phaeton on Cars and Bids Is the Ultimate Luxury Bargain

Volkswagen Phaeton on Cars and Bids Is the Ultimate Luxury Bargain