2021 VW Phideon Facelift Debuts In China With Illuminated Badge
After the phaeton disappeared in 2016, the Touareg was promoted to the rank of flagship in many parts of the world. The situation is a little different in China, where the local VW-SAIC joint venture has developed a new full-size sedan to meet the local market. The Phideon launched in 2016 and had its best year in 2018 when sales hit 24,471 units before dropping to 14,019 cars last year.
VW is giving its top-of-the-line model a facelift, but the changes are rather subtle and unlikely to move the needle. One of the novelties is the illuminated badge, flanked by an LED daytime running light strip that extends to the sides to meet the reworked headlights. The designers also tweaked the front bumper adding chrome inserts and changing the area around the fog lights, but nothing fancy.
While not a CN-compliant Audi A6L on the inside, the 2021 Phideon is well equipped with a small refrigerator between the rear massage seats, while up front, it now has an enlarged 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen. VW-SAIC will sell the car with a lot of kit, including a night vision system and a head-up display. There’s even an optional air suspension for a silky smooth ride worthy of a car with high-end aspirations.
The model year change sees a streamlined powertrain lineup as the Phideon ditch the 2.0-liter plug-in hybrid as well as the beefy 3.0-liter V6. That means Chinese customers will be stuck with a 2.0 TSI producing 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque. The output is sent exclusively to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG, so more all-wheel drive now that the V6 4Motion variant is dead.
VW-SAIC will launch the Phideon update in the People’s Republic next month.
For a true Phaeton replacement, we may have to wait until later this decade, when the flagship could be reborn as a purely electric sedan. VW spoke briefly about a potential EV replacement in 2017, but we haven’t heard anything about it since then. The company has bigger fish to fry given the state of the greedy SUV market, which means that a sedan isn’t exactly a top priority for the R&D team.
Below is a statement made in March 2017 by VW Group boss Herbert Diess on how the company had to return to the drawing board with next-gen Phaeton development after finding out just how Tesla Model S was advanced at the time:
“We were pretty far along with the next Phaeton, but it became clear that it wasn’t a leap forward enough. A large, modern sedan has to be competitive and have an edge over the Tesla, which is the benchmark and dominates in many areas on Now, if we go back there, we have to take Tesla seriously, and of course that is what we are doing. with our electrical strategy. “