It's not that unusual for a car to be canceled late in the development stage, but rarely do we get the opportunity to take a good look at an aborted project. The Phaeton D2 (codenamed after the D segment, second-generation model) was designed back in 2014 and was almost ready to enter production. It was supposed to be more than 5.3 meters (nearly 210 inches) long and take advantage of the VW Group's latest tech together with the latest Audi A8.
Thomas from Autogefühl had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the ill-fated Phaeton D2, which was developed on the MLB Evo platform much like the A8. The designers made generous use of chrome on the outside, including for the shiny 21-inch wheels and many trim pieces. Dare we say that Audi's Four Rings wouldn't look out of place on this car, but many would argue that sticking with the A8 makes more sense.
Second-generation Volkswagen Phaeton (canceled)
The fancy interior hosts what VW refers to as the Innovision Cockpit, which eventually made it to production on the Touareg. This canceled Phaeton fullsize sedan ticked all the luxury car boxes, featuring an abundance of leather and Alcantara, along with wood and metallic surfaces. Air vents in the B-pillars, a rear-seat entertainment system, and soft-close doors are traits of a premium sedan. We could say the same about the generous rear legroom and the center console in the back with a screen and switchgear to control the seats and other functions.
Interestingly, the Phaeton was supposed to get electrochromic side windows, which is a tech only found in ultra-high-end models for the sunroof. At the touch of a button, the user can switch from opaque to transparent glass and vice versa. Speaking of nifty features, the plug-in hybrid was developed with wireless charging in mind. Capacitive-touch buttons on the steering wheel, which are now found on some VW models, were installed as well.
VW Group Design Klaus Zyciora – who was in charge of the core brand's design when the Phaeton D2 was in development – admitted the car was dropped because of the Dieselgate and the subsequent decision to go all-in on EVs. Some elements did trickle down to the Touareg, but a new range-topping sedan is not on the agenda for the time being.