The Volkswagen Phaeton – bless its W12 heart – never really caught on in America. Introduced in the U.S. in late 2003, the full-size VW flagship sedan sold a mere 1,433 units in 2004 and a paltry 820 units in 2005.
The weak sales numbers resulted in the discontinuation of the vehicle in the U.S. for the 2006 model year. Now, nearly a decade later, the rumors of the Phaeton’s return have been numerous, but so far, nothing has been confirmed. Even so, new rumors suggest that VW is currently developing a sporty, but less expensive model to slot between the Phaeton — which is still in production overseas and will get a second-generation model in the near future — and the Passat. To note, we’ve seen something along the lines of this rumor back in December of 2014, when the vehicle between the Passat and Phaeton was classified as a BMW 5 Series rival.
VW’s thinking is said to be such: sporty sedans are on the boil in the U.S. and in China, causing the automaker to think that it’s high time that it introduced a sporting sedan of its own. The vehicle, which VW refers to as a ‘sport-wagon’ or ‘sport-sedan’, is rumored to adopt a sleek, sportback-type design in the same vein as the Volkswagen Group’s own Audi A7 or A5 Sportback, Mercedes-Benz CLS, and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Numerous reports suggest that VW hasn’t yet decided which platform – MQB or MLB – will underpin the new sporty sedan, which some are referring to as a Super Passat. If it makes it to production, the Super Passat will likely get a range of VW’s force-inducted four- and a six-cylinder engines, including the praised 2.0L TSI I4 and the 3.0L TSI V6. The I4 will be good for roughly 220 ponies while the six-pot will churn out a respectable 300 horses.
The vehicle is suspected to start around €24,000 (roughly $35,000 USD, at current conversion rates) and could arrive as early as calendar year 2017, if it gets the green light.
Pheaton return rumors be damned, it looks like there’s a new “near-luxury” VW on the way.