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The Volkswagen Phaeton is a luxury sedan (F-segment in Europe) manufactured by the German marque Volkswagen. It was presented at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show as the brand’s flagship sedan. Its name comes from Phaëthon, son of the sun-god Helios. In Greek mythology, he was in charge of carrying the solar car. Some types of horse-drawn carriages are also named after him.
The Phaeton was an idea of Ferdinand Piëch, CEO of VAG at the beginning of the century. His idea was to create a luxury Volkswagen, similar to what was happening in the group with Audi or other competing German brands such as Mercedes or BMW. It is known that he gave a list of requirements to his engineers, but this list was never published. The sedan began its production in 2002 to be marketed a year later worldwide. It was on sale until 2016. However, in North America, the model was withdrawn in 2006. For its manufacture, the Volkswagen Group D1 platform was chosen. This manufacturing platform was also used for the Audi A8 D4 and other luxury vehicles of the VAG Group such as the Bentley Continental GT or the Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
During its 14 years of life, the Phaeton had four generations. Even so, they are usually considered as restylings of the original model. There was also a regular version and a ‘Limousine‘ or ‘L‘ version, the Phaeton Lounge, which was introduced in 2005.
The engines of the Phaeton were of the most varied. The gasoline versions started with a 3.2 liter V6 —the famous Volkswagen VR6—. It was also marketed with a V8 engine and the mythical 6-liter W12. As for the diesel versions, it had mainly two variants: the 3-liter TDI and the 5-liter V10 TDI.
As expected, this sedan did not have too many buyers. Important people like Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, chose the Phaeton as his official car, but it was not enough to reach a wide market. In the United States and Canada, the Phaeton was a sales failure. It was much more successful in China, South Korea and Germany.
Among the Phaeton’s competitors are other luxury sedans such as the BMW 7 Series, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Jaguar XJ, the Lexus LS and its sibling, the Audi A8.
Volkswagen Phaeton. Timing Belt or Timing Chain?
Down below you will see a list with all Volkswagen Phaeton models that have been produced. They are classified by model identifier, year and type of bodywork. Above each list, we show you a series of pictures so that you can have a visual reference for each model. In some cases, both the original and its updated design are displayed to help you identify them with ease.
In this guide you will find all Volkswagen Phaeton models:
3D1, 3D2, 3D3, 3D4, 3D6, 3D7, 3D8, 3D9.
■ Timing Belt / Cam Belt (Correa / Faja de Distribución)
■ Timing Chain (Cadena de Distribución / Cadena de Tiempo)
■ Gear Driven (Distribución por Engranajes)
■ 100% Electric, No Timing (Sin Distribución)
■ Unknown / Not Updated (Información desconocida)
If a car model is specified in blue, it means its motor engine has a timing chain; that is, it has no timing belt. The rest of the vehicles marked in grey have a timing belt/cam belt.
Volkswagen Phaeton I & II – First & Second Generation (GP0 / GP1) (2002)
Sedan / Saloon
- BMK 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 224 CV (2004 – 2007)
- CARA 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 233 CV (2007 – 2008)
- CARB 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 240 CV (2008 – 2011)
- AJS 5.0 V10 TDI 4motion 313 CV (2002 – 2006)
Petrol / Gasoline Engines
- BKL 3.2 V6 241 CV (2002 – 2005)
- BRK 3.2 V6 4Motion 241 CV (2004 – 2008)
- CHNA 3.6 V6 4Motion 280 CV (2008 – 2011)
- BGJ 4.2 V8 4Motion 335 CV (2003 – 2006)
- BAP 6.0 W12 4Motion 420 CV (2002 – 2005)
- BTT 6.0 W12 4Motion 450 CV (2005 – 2011)
Volkswagen Phaeton III / IV – Third & Fourth Generation (GP3 / GP4) (2011, 2014)
Sedan / Saloon
- CARB 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 240 CV (2011 – 2016)
- CEXB 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 245 CV (2013 – 2016)
Petrol / Gasoline Engines
- CPFA 3.0 V6 250 CV (2012 – 2016)
- CHNA 3.6 V6 4Motion 280 CV (2011 – 2016)
- BTT 6.0 W12 4Motion 450 CV (2011 – 2016)