Depending on wheelbase, the 2011 model Phaeton is between 5.06 and 5.18 meters 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 uncompromisingly 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 horizontal linking of grille and headlights follows the Volkswagen design criteria and impressively emphasizes the vehicle’s width. As a sign of its class specific to this model the Phaeton also features three-dimensional molding 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 and adaptive lights. Not just in visual terms, but from a technical perspective too, this is a whole new generation of headlamps. Firstly, the indicator and adaptive cornering lights are highly visible and stylistically 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 color-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 color-coordinated with the car body. The same goes for the bottom section of the side skirts. Also noticeable in silhouette view are modified side trim strips, narrower LED indicators in the wing mirrors and new 18-inch (‘Experience’) alloy wheels.