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Minimum status, maximum complexity: whether to buy a Volkswagen Phaeton

Phaeton – the car is in many ways truly non-standard. For example, it was produced simply indecently long for a representative sedan – from 2002 to 2016, and during that time, having gone through two updates, it still did not become a radically different car. This is one of the few Volkswagen that received “record” engines under the hood – diesel V10 and petrol W12. This is an atypical Volkswagen from the point of view of the “national” image of the brand – here, unlike any other Passat, there were no cheap versions with spring suspension and manual transmissions.Of course, you can continue for a long time and once again tell the story of the “Glass Manufactory” in Dresden, where the Phaeton was assembled by hand, and for some time in parallel with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur. But the buyer, especially in the secondary market, pampering his cheap premium, will have a completely different question: why was the top filling dressed in a body that most of the offhand cannot be distinguished from the same Passat?

The answer is generally simple: it was part of the philosophy of the car, which was addressed to those who wanted to get maximum comfort and equipment, but at the same time at least extra attention. Even the long-base version available in the gamut did not stand out against the background of the usual ones except for the actual length – there was no naughty nameplate at the stern. Well, now all this is both a minus and one of the indirect advantages of the model: because of such a modest image, they are unlikely to be bought for the last money in order to sink and drain in a few months – for that there is BMW and other Mercedes. From the same follows the following conclusion: the chances of finding a car that is not broken in a big way are a little higher here than for the counterparts in the segment. However, all this, of course, does not negate the utmost attention to detail: in addition to the integrity of the body and repainted elements, you should check the history of the car – not only traffic police bases and registry of pledges, but also paid services, such as Avtotek, where you can see the history of registered mileage will be useful. and compare it with the current one.

Unlike the Audi A8 of the same years, the Phaeton does not brag about the aluminum body. This partly explains a little more mass than its competitors: only hinged elements in the face of doors, bonnet and trunk are made of aluminum, and the front wings are completely plastic, but steel has become the dominant structure of the frame. Perhaps this choice is also explained by the task of Ferdinand Piha, who, according to legend, set a number of parameters for the engineers that they had to achieve in the final product – and one of them was a high body rigidity for twisting equal to 37,000 Nm / degree.

Inspection of a used Phaeton today, on the one hand, should not be disappointing: with proper care, corrosion can be found only on the bottom and in the subframe attachment points, and “on top” defects can be found in the form of chips on the hood and wings and shabby sandblasted areas on the thresholds . But at the same time, even aluminum elements do not promise a lack of problems: in addition to the difficulty in recovering from an accident, they can “please” with a dotted paint – aluminum also tends to collapse. In addition to external inspection of the body, it is necessary to check the condition of the seals and the dryness of the carpet in the cabin: one of the Volkswagen premium diseases is clogged drains, due to which the floors can be constantly wet, which promises not only rust, but also potential problems with the electrics, which are here expected a lot.

The possible difficulties with electrics and electronics can be judged by the fact that poorly equipped Phaeton did not exist in principle, and in decently equipped versions there is literally anything, including seats with a “breaking” back, ventilation and massage, door closers, four-zone climate, a refrigerator in the trunk and a solar battery in the hatch (by the way, a revocable campaign was associated with it). Accordingly, without thorough diagnostics with the help of VCDS, it is not even worthwhile to take up the choice – it may be prohibitively expensive to understand the problems of electronic units after purchase. Of the common problems, there are failures of the multimedia system, as well as the gradual destruction of the wiring of the tailgate electric drive: sooner or later, the owners are faced with the fact that it stops rising itself after opening, and restoration is not always possible – sometimes you have to order a new wiring harness. Against this background, typical age problems like burning out reflectors of headlights do not look something surprising – only the specificity and rarity of the car leaves its imprint here too: the same new headlight will cost 70,000, since there is simply no neoriginal.

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