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The Ultra-Luxury Volkswagen You’ve Never Heard Of

Volkswagen maintains a good reputation for sporty, low-end luxury cars that are affordable to the general consumer. But, for some reason years ago, the team at Volkswagen decided to stand out and produce a surprising addition to their lineup, a limousine sedan. A limousine sedan is a high-end luxury car that borders on the realm of ultra-luxury and beyond. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s called Volkswagen Phaeton, and you can buy them now for a fraction of the original price.

The Volkswagen Phaeton

The Phaeton is Volkswagen’s $100,000+ ultra-luxury car that most people have never even heard of. It was only produced for a handful of years, from 2002 to 2016, and if you saw one, you probably didn’t think it was any different than the more standard Volkswagen sedans. That can be said of a majority of ultra-luxury sedans like the Maybach because they aren’t made to stand out like the Lamborghini Gallardo. rather immerse the owner in the newest tech and greatest luxuries you’d never expect to get in a car.

Volkswagen’s new luxury car, the Phaeton| Volkswagen AG/Getty Images

The Phaeton shared a lot in common with the Audi A8 and even the Bentley Continental GT. The external features of the car were modest but maintained several facelifts over the few generations to keep it looking more modern. The inside of the Phaeton was lined with quality materials and decked with comfort and features, everything you’d expect from a car of that price.

It, of course, has all of the features you’d expect from a luxury sedan, like built-in sunshades, dual climate control in the front seats as well as the back seats, and of course front and rear heated seats.

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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, and the back seats also had a feature you’ve probably heard of as only available in front seats: a massage function.

The Volkswagen Phaeton was available for sale in the United States, and you can find them on the used market for – shockingly – less than $10,000.

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.

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, but it did better in China and South Korea where Volkswagens were altogether less common.

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For the big spenders who care more about the car than the name brand, or for companies that focus on having limosine sedans, the Phaeton is still a great option, even if it is just as extremely priced as other ultra-luxury cars.