As we all know, the Phaeton is no longer available, but Volkswagen is selling the next best thing in China where the Phideon has been around for several months. Originally introduced at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, the fullsize luxury sedan is attending Auto Shanghai these days to show off its green credentials. Set to become the most powerful GTE-badged model ever, the Phideon GTE adopts a plug-in hybrid powertrain borrowed from another China-only car, the Audi A6 L E-Tron launched a couple of years ago.
Like the Audi, VW’s eco-friendly sedan will be built in China to cater the local market. It’s going to feature a 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 245 horsepower (180 kilowatts) and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque. For the sake of comparison, the Passat GTE sold in Europe has a smaller 1.4 TSI, which together with the electric motor delivers a total of 218 hp (160 kW) and 243 lb-ft (400 Nm).
The Phideon GTE’s 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery is going to have enough juice for a Passat GTE-matching electric range of 31 miles (50 kilometers). Factor in the gasoline tank and the electrified big sedan will be able to cover distances of up to 528 miles (850 km).
Alternatively, the VW Phideon can be had with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 300 hp (220 kW) and 347 lb-ft (440 Nm) channeled to a 4Motion system or with a smaller 2.0-liter as the entry-level variant with a front-wheel-drive layout.
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Other than the plug-in hybrid setup, the car currently on display in the People’s Republic has GTE-specific LED daytime running lights and some discreet styling updates to set it apart from the conventionally powered car. Inside, the best way to describe it would have to be a luxed-up Passat with a longer wheelbase for extra rear legroom.
For a global fullsize posh sedan from Wolfsburg, we’ll have to wait a few more years when VW will bring back the Phaeton, likely as an EV.