Volkswagen of America honcho Michael Horn has already promised to bring the slow-selling but excellent Phaeton back to the United States in 2018 or 2019. Beyond the confirmation of the nameplate, though, there’s really very little in the way of concrete data on what the next generation of VW’s range-topping sedan will look like, be powered by or cost.
According to Automotive News, we have at least partial potential answers to all three of those questions. The digital publication is reporting that we’ll see both plug-in hybrid and diesel powertrain options when the Phaeton returns to the US market, though it’s not clear what the base engine option will be for cars carrying a rumored starting price of around $70,000. If AN’s sources are accurate, the V8 TDI will put out some 450 horsepower to go along with what we’d assume are bucketfulls of torque, while the hybrid V6 would offer up more than 400 ponies.
Further, AN tells us that the Phaeton will be based on VW Group’s MLB Evo architecture, which would have it sharing underpinnings with Audi’s range of sedans and crossovers, including the top-of-the-line A8. We asked VW of America if it could confirm or deny any of these rumors, and the answer was, rather predictably, a negative. “At this stage, they are just rumors,” says VW representative Mark Gilles.
It remains to be seen how American buyers react to such premium pricing this second time around, having mostly avoided the Phaeton the first time it was offered Stateside, due, at least in part, to the perception gap of a car wearing the VW badge costing as much as what are seen as more premium nameplates, such as VW’s own Audi.