VW Phideon: a new Phaeton for China lands at Geneva motor show

Published: 29 February 2016

► A new limo for China only
► Sets template for next Phaeton
► Another VW debut at Geneva

Meet the new Volkswagen Phideon, a luxury limousine for the Chinese market unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show. And if you’re thinking it looks a little bit like the new Phaeton replacement, you’d be right.

Developed with VW’s Chinese partner SAIC, the 5m-long saloon is only destined for local-market sales – but the company admits it ‘debuts the new “face” of Volkswagen’s luxury saloons’.

‘With its charismatic front end, the Phideon paves the way for the future design of Volkswagen’s top-of-the-range saloons.’

Why the VW Phideon points to the next Phaeton

The Phaeton quietly slid off sale in Europe in the past year, leaving a gap in Volkswagen’s line-up above the top-end Passats and Touaregs.

Amidst the brouhaha of #Dieselgate, Wolfsburg has admitted that it will replace the Phaeton – with a new, electric-only luxury car to focus VW’s eco credentials.

We’d say the Phideon, the first VW product built around the group’s latest Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLB), will provide inspiration for whatever replaces Phaeton in Europe. That car is unlikely to be shown for some time yet, however.

Tech spec, details

The Phideon is all-wheel drive and the flagship comes with a 3.0 TSI engine developing 296bhp. A smaller 2.0-litre engine and plug-in hybrid are under development, VW says.

It goes on sale in China in the third quarter of 2016. Two other things of note: it’s the first VW to feature a camera-based night vision system. And terrible name alert! Phideon is a made-up word designed to blend ‘elegance and reliability, and phonetically and symbolically evoking Fides, the Roman goddess of fidelity.’

Reminds us of the inspiration for the VW Sharan name. Doesn’t work quite so well for English ears but referenced the Persian word for ‘transport for kings.’

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

The new VW Phideon

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet