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Shopping for luxury cars is often a venture that’s full of price tags that make your jaw drop. However, there are plenty of surprisingly luxurious vehicles floating around for reasonable prices. Of course, the likes of Genesis offer modern competition to the luxury manufacturer hierarchy. However, there are some stealthy options from the luxurious past that shoppers can buy for fantastic prices—for example, the Volkswagen Phaeton.

The Volkswagen Phaeton is a diet Bentley that still packs a world of luxurious punch

Front end shot of a black 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12 Premier Edition on Cars and Bids
2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12 Premier Edition | Cars and Bids

This 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton that just sold on Cars and Bids is a prime example of a stealthy luxury car that luxury shoppers can have for a reasonable price. Though they aren’t nearly as underground as they used to be, the Phaeton is an ultra-luxury Volkswagen offering that shares a platform with the Bentley Continental GT. Not only that, it shares the engine, too.

While the base Phaeton came with a 4.2-liter V8, the optional engine (and the one found in this particular example) is the same 6.0-liter W12 engine that lives under the hood of the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur. However, the primary difference is that the Phaeton does not get the twin-turbo assembly. It isn’t lacking on power, though. This unsuspecting Volkswagen sedan packs 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It’s also all-wheel drive!

If that isn’t convincing enough, here are some of the remarkable luxury features you find in a Phaeton: soft-closing doors, gorgeous leather upholstery, a Bentley-style clock in the dash, adjustable air suspension, and a heated steering wheel. Not convincing enough? How about heated, cooled, and massaging seats both front and rear? It’s also got front and rear parking sensors, a powered rear window shade, four-zone automatic climate control, and, perhaps the most tell-tale luxury features, walnut trim.

Sure, a lot of that is standard in the world of luxury now, but do try to remember that this is a nearly 20-year-old Volkswagen. The majority of drivers you pass wouldn’t even know you’re not driving a Passat.

Remarkably, all of these features in a nearly perfectly maintained car with only 73,000 original miles sold for just $18,000. That’s $20,000 cheaper than a Continental GT of the same year.

The particular Phaeton wasn’t stock, either

Rear seat legroom of the 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12 Premier Sedan
2004 Volkswagen Phaeton Rear Seat | Cars and Bids

According to the listing, this Phaeton has a few modifications. Most notably, it has a dealer-installed push-to-start ignition system. However, additional modifications include euro-style Volkswagen LED rear turn signals, an upgraded Bluetooth system, and an upgraded battery. It also has a 50-watt solar charging system, though, it isn’t exactly clear what it does.

At any rate, this Phaeton is a perfect example of how an incredibly luxurious car doesn’t have to come at an eye-watering price. In fact, many of these features are still available on V8 Phaeton models. So, those interested in experiencing some of these features for a smaller price can step down to a V8 model. Often, they can be found for under $10,000.

The best part of the Phaeton, though, is the fact that you can quietly enjoy your luxury car without dealing with peoples’ staring eyes and barrage of questions when you get out of the vehicle. Try that in a Bentley!


Full-Size Luxury Shootout: Volkswagen Phaeton Vs. Mercedes-Benz S550