Report: 2015 Volkswagen Phaeton Drops Three-Box Design, Will Have Hybrid Option

A new version of the Volkswagen Phaeton luxury sedan will arrive in 2015 with a sexier, more coupe-like shape. A new report from Car Magazine reveals that the next-generation Phaeton ditches its conservative, three-box sedan design to make it more appealing.

The new car will ride on a new architecture, jointly engineered with Audi, called MLM Evo. It is designed to be adapted for plug-in hybrid drivetrains or even aluminum construction if desired. Initially just a four-door “notch” body will be offered, but it’s possible that a five-door coupe (like the Audi A7) could be considered at a later date. In addition to the livelier exterior lines, the new car will have a more modern interior that is “beautifully finished” and reportedly on par with the quality found inside a new Bentley.

Volkswagen was planning to preview the new Phaeton with the Concept D show car at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but was delayed at the last minute. Instead, the Up! city car was the headliner of Volkswagen’s Frankfurt stand.

The next-generation Volkswagen Phaeton will reportedly be cheaper than the current model, positioned in price somewhere between Audi’s A6 and A8 sedans. That should help bolster sales: Car reports that about half of all Phaetons were used as demonstrator or courtesy cars, rather than reaching the hands of paying customers. The Phaeton was sold in the U.S. for only three years before sluggish sales lead to its deportation from American VW dealerships.

Powertrain choices for Europe are said to comprise a four-cylinder, two high-output six-cylinder engines, and a hybrid drivetrain. Those replace the heavy and inefficient V-8, V-10, and W-12 engines that are available for the current Phaeton.

Volkswagen executives have confirmed that the new Phaeton is destined for the American marketplace. If the new Phaeton does arrive here, it may once again face an uphill battle to gain recognition against established luxury nameplates like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

Source: Car Magazine

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