Feb 23, 2004
Reviewed By Bengt Halvorsen
Price as Tested approx. $98,000 in Europe

Unbelievable acceleration from 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V10 with 552 lb-ft peak torque; 20 mpg in town, excellent fuel economy for a 5,000-pound car; roomy and comfortable all around


Controls and displays unnecessarily confusing and cluttered; momentary hesitation when transmission needs to downshift more than one gear; steering feels lighter than expected


The Phaeton is a great car, but it’s in a class where the hood badge counts. Only time will tell if high-roller Americans are receptive to a “people’s car” the price of five GTIs. The diesel would make a very desirable alternative engine, for torque-lovers, to the base V8 if Americans can get over the stigma of stinky, noisy past models.

Fun to Drive
4.0 rating
Fun to Look at
2.0 rating
Overall Experience
4.0 rating