Auto China 2010: The Phaeton World Premiere
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World Premiere at Auto China 2010:
Phaeton debuts with new design and new technologies
Flagship of the Volkswagen brand with fundamentally new front design
Online services and dynamic main beam control arrive in the Phaeton
Wolfsburg / Beijing, April 2010. At the Transparent Factory in Dresden
Volkswagen produces one of the finest automobiles in the world: the
Phaeton. The limousine’s quality and comfort (four-wheel drive and air
suspension as standard) set a unique benchmark. Volkswagen, the most
successful carmaker in Europe and China, has now made the Phaeton
even more perfect. The company’s new flagship is being unveiled for
the first time at Auto China 2010 (27th April to 2nd May) in Beijing.
Its contours are defined by the Volkswagen design DNA developed
by Walter de Silva, the group’s Italian chief designer. Around the
comple tely new front section in particular the design team has further
refined the model’s very own stylistic aplomb. In the process the
timelessly elegant Phaeton has gained a broader and more powerful
appearance. The new model is also characterised by modifications to
its rear section and silhouette.
At the same time, new technical features have been added. These include
Dynamic Light Assist (camera-based dynamic main beam regu la tion)
and a navigation system that, if desired, can integrate online data
from Google into the map display. In addition to this, the Phaeton’s
optional front camera enables it to ‘see’ road signs, with speed limit
signs visuali sed on the instrument panel and centre console’s touch-
screen. The system will also be able to recognise and depict ‘no over-
taking’ signs – the first in the world to do so!
The Phaeton will be available with a choice of two wheelbase options,
two back seat versions (three seats / two individual seats) and four
engines (a turbo diesel and three petrol engines). The six, eight and
twelve-cylinder engines range in capacity from 176 kW / 240 PS to
331 kW / 450 PS. The standard drive unit used in the Phaeton is a V6
petrol engine producing 206 kW / 280 PS. At the capacities above the
V6 FSI the choices available are a V8 and a W12 petrol engine, delivering
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246 kW / 335 PS and 331 kW / 450 PS respectively. On the diesel front
Volkswagen is offering an extremely frugal and smooth-running
V6 TDI. In Europe it is the most frequently selected engine for this
car. The turbo charged common rail direct injection engine delivers
176 kW / 240 PS and accelera tes the Phaeton V6 (top speed in this case
237 km/h) from 0 to 100 km/h in just 8.6 seconds. This is accompanied
by average fuel consumption that has now been reduced still further to
just 8.5 litres per 100 km (equating to 224 g/km CO2).
Depending on wheelbase, the 2011 model Phaeton is between 5.06 and
5.18 metres long. As mentioned above, a completely new front section
has been developed for this flagship of the Volkswagen brand. In
keeping with the current Volkswagen design DNA, its form is dominated
by horizontal lines. Unlike all other Volkswagens created to date on the
basis of this new DNA, the Phaeton does not have a shiny black radiator
grille cover, but instead a completely new chrome element. Along with
the likewise restyled headlights, this radiator trim is a major influence
in the new Phaeton’s design and underlines its uncom promisingly
independent character. In detail the new grille is more upright, while
its stricter lines and impressive alternation of materials between
polished and matt chrome make it even more striking. The horizon tal
linking of grille and headlights follows the Volkswagen design criteria
and im pres sively emphasises the vehicle’s width. As a sign of its class
specific to this model the Phaeton also features three- dimen sio nal
moulding of the grille and bonnet, with precise edges that carry the
grille’s heightened expression of quality on into the sculptured contours
of the vehicle body. Once again in the centre of the grille is the classic
VW badge, which now - despite integrating the ACC (automatic distance
control) system’s radar sensors - has a new-look surface design.
To the left and right of the grille are new Bi-Xenon headlamps, which
are standard across the range. Integrated within them are cornering
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and adaptive lights. Not just in visual terms, but from a technical
pers pec tive too, this is a whole new generation of headlamps. Firstly,
the indicator and adaptive cornering lights are highly visible and
stylis ti cal ly striking LEDs. Secondly, as with the new Touareg, the
Phaeton will also be available with optional Dynamic Light Assist. Using
a camera integrated into the rear-view mirror, this complex technology
‘detects’ other road users and regulates illumination of the carriageway
accordingly (see separate section on Dynamic Light Assist).
The bumper has also been redesigned in keeping with the radiator grille
and headlamps. Here too horizontal lines form the guiding principles
of the new design. Even the fog lamps have been designed as narrow,
horizontal LED strips. Last but not least, the bottom final section of the
bumper is now also colour-coordinated with the car body. Compared
to the previous model the new generation Phaeton thus looks even
sportier and more imposing on the road.
Also modified, the back of the car underlines this impression. The
design team decided here not to change the classic, clear and powerful
basic style that this area has always had, but instead to develop new
LED rear light clusters. Each cluster features dotted lights and an
M-shaped LED strip. The result is an unmistakable, elegant look both
in daylight and at night. Also new is the VW badge - now likewise in 3D
format - on the boot lid.
As at the front, the rear bumper has also been redesigned. It now has
a new, three-piece chrome bar and the section of the bumper trim
near the road is now also colour-coordinated with the car body. The
same goes for the bottom section of the side skirts. Also noticeable in
sil houette view are modified side trim strips, narrower LED indicators
in the wing mirrors and new 18-inch (‘Experience’) alloy wheels.
The Phaeton’s interior ranks as one of the most elegant, high quality and
comfortable in the entire premium class. The 4-zone air- conditioning
2011 Phaeton / World premiere / VOLKSWAGEN / 03
system, for example, that works totally free of any draughts, and the
award-winning ergonomic 18-way seats are unsurpassed. All of the
Phaeton interior’s functions are also intuitive to use. In addition to the
version with three rear seats (5-seater), the limousine can be optionally
ordered with two electrically adjustable individual seats (4-seater).
Furthermore a version of the Phaeton is also available that is twelve
centimetres longer. Meanwhile, the limousine can be almost infinitely
personalised with a wide range of leather, alcantara and wood trim,
plus optional equipment such as a fridge or multimedia systems from
Volkswagen Exclusive. This also applies to the completely redesigned
multifunction steering wheel. It can be ordered either in leather or in a
wood/leather combination matching the relevant wood trim features.
Information and entertainment systems
The intuitive nature of the Phaeton’s controls has been fully transferred
to the new generation of radio and navigation systems (RCD 810 and
RNS 810). Equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen, the systems form a
functional unit with the air-conditioning and multimedia controls.
Use of online services: Volkswagen is for the first time offering an
Internet- based Google function in the new Phaeton as a map display
add-on for the RNS 810 radio navigation system with 30-gigabyte
hard drive. The relevant data gets loaded onto the system over the
Internet via mobile telephone and a proxy server specially set up for
the purpose. The visualisation on the touchscreen’s display is the same
as the Google Maps ‘Satellite’ view familiar from the conventional
Internet and equiva lent to the iPhone’s ‘Hybrid’ view. In the Phaeton
the satel lite images naturally get supplemented by the navigation
system’s appropriate ly highlighted route recommendation.
Particularly interesting in this feature are the POIs (points of interest)
that can be accessed. Addresses, tourist sights, businesses, sports
venues, doctors’ surgeries and restaurants integrated within Google
can be selected in seconds and transferred directly into the route
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naviga tion. In perfect conditions the system loads the data via UMTS
con nec tion. The telephone itself gets completely integrated into the
sys tem via remote SIM access profiles (rSAP). Alternatively, anyone
who wants to use a mobile phone with hands-free profiles (HFPs) can
also do this linked up with the new Phaeton (in this case Google is
disabled). In HFP mode phones that are ‘Phaeton compatible’ include,
for example, Apple’s iPhone.
Road sign recognition: However the latest generation Phaeton’s
informa tion and entertainment system can do even more! By virtue of
the camera integrated in the rear-view mirror the Phaeton now detec ts
road signs and shows the relevant information on the system’s touch-
screen and/or the multifunction display (between speedometer and rev
counter). It displays not only the maximum permitted speed but also
any important additional information (e.g. ‘10pm – 6am’ or ‘When wet’).
The system will also be able to alert drivers to overtaking restrictions
– the first vehicle in the world to do so!
For the RNS 810 radio/navigation system further add-on options are
also available. These include a rear-seat multimedia entertainment
system (the High End) and a 1,000-watt sound system with digital
12-channel amplifier from hi-fi specialists Dynaudio.
Electronic assistance systems
The Phaeton’s electronic assistance systems include Dynamic Light
Assist (dynamic main beam control), ACC (automatic distance
regula tion), Front Assist (surroundings monitoring) and Side Assist
(lane change assistance). A tyre pressure control system also provides
standards of safety.
Dynamic Light Assist in detail: Volkswagen is introducing for the
Phaeton a new optional camera-based main beam control system called
Dynamic Light Assist, which represents a major technical inno va tion
in passive safety. Linked in with a camera integrated behind the wind-
screen the system keeps the main beam modules of the standard
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Bi-Xenon headlamps permanently on. It merely masks the areas of each
beam that it calculates could potentially disturb other road users. For
the driver this means appreciably more light, clearly enhanced safety
and a more relaxing drive. The function is achieved by an additional
aperture between the reflector holding the Xenon bulb and the lens.
Combined with an intelligent, lateral tilting of the complete module
(via the cornering light function) and individual control of the left and
right headlights, this additional aperture arrangement enables the light
source to be masked only in those areas that could otherwise cause
other motorists to be dazzled.
Thanks to the front camera the cornering light control system detects
the exact position of the vehicle in front and at speeds of 60 km/h or
more ‘pushes’ the cone of light up to the rear of the vehicle or even
to its side and on past it – without dazzling the driver. The increase
in safety and driver convenience provided by Dynamic Light Assist is
considerable and can be ranked on a par with that achieved at the time
by the introduction of Xenon technology.
ACC and Front Assist in detail: Automatic distance regulation (ACC)
relie ves the driver of the burden of active braking and acceleration.
ACC significantly improves driving comfort and passive safety,
especial ly on longer motorway journeys. At the same time the system
(when activated) ensures adherence to the legally prescribed minimum
distance from the vehicle in front.
An integral component of ACC is Front Assist. This ACC extension is
designed to help prevent rear-end collisions. Using a radar sensor, the
system monitors the distance to the vehicles in front of the Phaeton. If
this is becoming too short, the system alerts the driver in two stages. At
the same time the vehicle is prepared for possible emergency braking
by the driver. Even before certain situations arise, Front Assist takes
preventative action by putting the brakes into a preconditioned status
that otherwise only gets activated when the brake pedal is pushed. The
system thus acts as a means of reducing the car’s stopping distance.
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Automatic distance regulation is operated via relevant buttons on the
redesigned multifunction steering wheel. It is operated in many aspects
in the same way as the cruise control system. With ACC enabled the
car automatically slows down (if necessary to a stop) and speeds up
within a speed range set in advance by the driver. ACC can be switched
on at speeds of between 30 and 200 km/h. The system then uses radar
to detect any traffic within an angle of 12 degrees travelling up to
200 metres in front of the Phaeton. ACC is enabled and disabled via an
ON/OFF button on the left of the multifunction steering wheel. All of
the driver assistance systems, including ACC, can also be switched on
or off simultaneously by pressing a button in the centre of the indicator
stalk for more than a second. The ACC also gets disabled as soon as the
driver pushes the brake pedal. The system can be switched back on via
the ‘Resume’ button on the steering wheel. It then continues to use the
desired speed set prior to it being disabled.
The key information about the automatic distance regulation system
can be seen quickly and clearly laid out on the multifunction display.
Side Assist in detail: Another assistance system in the Phaeton is the
lane change assistant (Side Assist). At speeds of 60 km/h or more this
system monitors the area behind and to the side of the Phaeton via
radar sensors in the rear bumper (one sensor each for the area to left
and right) and indicates via a warning light in the wing mirror frame
any risk of potential collision. The area monitored by the sensors covers
a distance of around 50 metres to the rear and 3.6 metres to the side of
If Side Assist detects a critical situation to the left or right of the Phaeton
and the driver has not switched on the blinker to indicate a change
of lane, the warning light in the wing mirror frame comes on to draw
atten tion to the special traffic situation. If, however, the driver turns
on the indicator while there is traffic in the adjacent lane, the light
flashes four times to warn of the potential danger. The brightness of
the warning lights can be adjusted to one of five levels via the multi-
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func tion display. In an interesting interlinking of the car’s systems the
ambient brightness detected at any given time by the rain and light
de tection sensor gets automatically taken into account in determining
the brightness level.
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