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American Dream Mobile ™
The Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI receives
5 Stars & 6 Stripes - Award
Extraordinaire - Society

The Ultimate Award:
Seven Stars and Stripes ™
As featured in the November 2003 edition of the Montauk Sun, Hamptons, N.Y.

American Dream Mobile of the Month: Volkswagen Phaeton.
In the 19th century the Phaeton was the name for a noble coach,
which was not controlled by a coachman but by the master himself.
Volkswagen Phaeton
"With the launch of the Phaeton, Volkswagen is expanding its unique appeal to the luxury segment. This car delivers the best qualities of German-engineered performance and luxury at a superior value," said Frank Maguire, Vice President of sales and marketing, Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Well, we had to prove this statement on its own merits. And one thing in advance - It is without a doubt an American Dream Mobile, come with us, take a closer look:
Volkswagen Phaeton Label
Volkswagen Phaeton Label
The Phaeton is a totally new car built for the luxury segment by the well-known German automaker Volkswagen. VW Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder envisioned that the Phaeton would not compete with its cousin Audi but said, 'with the introduction of Phaeton, we give those (VW) customers a reason to not leave the brand.' We had the pleasure to test-drive the new luxury limousine Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI on our recent European tour from Munich, Germany via Ascona, Switzerland to Vienna, Austria in October 2003.

First of all, here are some key features:
  • 4-MOTION four-wheel drive system
  • 4-Zone Climatronic System
  • 16-way Power Seating w/ lumbar massage
  • Infotainment System & Dashboard Display
  • 5.0 liter V10 TDI Diesel Engine
  • Air Suspension System
  • Tire Pressure Monitor & Parking Aid
  • Keyless Entry System
  • 12 Speaker Surround Sound System
Remember the Name "Phaeton"?

As you might know from the Greek mythology, Phaeton was the son of the sun god Helios. Phaeton, whose name stands for "the shining one", persuaded his father to let him drive the chariot of the sun across the heavens

And so it was, with this 'Chariot of the Gods' that we started our 5 country (Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy and Austria) American Dream Tour in Munich - Germany with a 3day stop at the famous Bayerischer Hof during Oktoberfest.
Christine Graf-Eckhard the Director of Public Relations & Media at the Bayerischer Hof welcomed us personally and promptly commented on our "Great American Dream Mobile". Our strongly agree. Our first impression of the Volkswagen Phaeton: We were awed by its technological design, its size, power and torque. Also outstanding is the front view of the Volkswagen Phaeton, which combines elegance and strength with aerodynamic styling allowing on average 28mpg economy. For John Lomitola, the Editorial Director it was love at first sight: "Its steering is more responsive and gives better feedback, so it's an easier car to thread confidently through tight corners.” Christine Graf-Eckhard & Thorsten Piosczyk
Entering the Volkswagen Phaeton
The Phaeton is definitely an eye-catcher, all the other guests where trying to take a peek of the latest model. It is a new star in the world of auto luxury and will compete with other full-sized luxury vehicles as the Audi A8, Infiniti Q45 and Lexus LS 430 successfully.

One may individualize, or should we use the term personalize, one’s carriage in many ways: for instance in Europe one will have a choice of the 5.0-liter V10 turbo diesel with 309 horsepower and an astounding 542 foot-pounds of torque; this will be the most powerful diesel engine available in a passenger vehicle and will be mated to a six-speed automatic. We liked the option of a glass sunroof, or one may choose a solar version with 28 built-in solar cells supplying up to 37 watts of power! This is used to power the AC and kept the cabin cooler when we parked. All the glass is laminated and contains a heat-reflecting film. Is it special enough, and imposing enough, for the target buyers? The market will decide.

We particularly liked the metallic silver color of our Phaeton much. On the one side, silver is non- obtrusive, on the other side it highlights the state of the art design of the Volkswagen Phaeton, harmonious, powerful body lines which emphasize the dynamic properties of the Phaeton. Above all it is fair to say that the Phaeton is a fabulous machine and due to very high standards of quality control, it seems that this car is made out of one piece, as if to say 'sculpted' by artisans. Even the ultrasonic sensors, which guide you through the most difficult parallel park, are integrated into the whole piece of artwork. This feature actually came in quite handy as a very agitated female traffic control officer was approaching us for a second time. We quickly and quietly slipped in behind an SL 500 and in front of a Bentley by the curb of the Bayerischer Hof. Eventually, she arrived on the scene only to witness Thorsten with a 'cat who ate the canary' expression on his confident face. It was as if the vehicle was some sort of futuristic stealth machine!

Germany is not only famous for Oktoberfest, which we had yet to discover but also famous for its Autobahns, superhighways with no speed limits. The Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI has a lot of power, the strong, agile engine brought us in seconds to speeds beyond your imagination in seconds. Now there is now a chance to satisfy an unfulfilled desire regarding power when you need it. Thanks to the 4MOTION ™ four-wheel drive system and its unbelievable brakes we felt very safe, solid and stable in the Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI.
It doesn't matter if you are on the Autobahn or on Switzerland's narrow serpentine mountain switchbacks, we felt encapsulated in the protection of 8 air bags and precise power-assisted steering that gives you an accurate perception of the road conditions. What a super car to enjoy, great handling over the uneven surfaces of Ascona, Switzerland accomplished with the confidence building automatic-leveling air suspension and tire pressure monitor that lets you know if the air pressures are slightly less than optimal. It even monitors the spare tire! At least at that point we knew that this is the car for the Hamptons.

From Ascona, Switzerland to Vienna, Austria - a hop? Yes! Well, not exactly! Getting to Vienna the shortest way from Ascona requires driving into northern Italy first and then back up and over the mountains of the Friuli region into southern Austria. The autobahns of Austria, though not unlimited speed, can be driven at a respectable 130 - 140 kph or roughly about 80 - 85 mph.
Grand Hotel Vienna Rolf Stähler & Phaeton
Rolf Staehler arriving at the Grand
For this caliber of automobile, that speed is an official 'no-brainer'! "It's so relaxing to ride this car - even if it takes a little longer," John said, "especially if it takes a little longer", easy to understand if you consider the built-in seat massagers. But more on this subject a little later in the story.

So we arrived 'fluffed and buffed' as if our own personal massage therapist was en route with us. Heads turned as we cruised the Ring Strasse in this Imperial City and we prepared to check into The Grand Hotel Wien, undoubtedly the finest Hotel in Vienna.
The concierge set out to develop a special series of driving routes in and around Vienna, combining urban slalom courses, back country roads with spectacular scenery and frequent stops for refreshment and photo-ops. Our first attempt to program these parameters into the GPS went flawlessly as it practically leads you by the hand to completion. The Phaeton is equipped with OnStar® and an integrated infotainment center with numerous personal profile settings featuring a seven-inch color screen that functions with the CD changer, navigation system, onboard trip computer and air conditioning.
The first leg of our journey led us through the streets of the city past the Hofburg, Karlskirche, Belvedere and Schoenbrunn Palace…
….to Schlumberger one of the finest sparkling wine producers in Austria. Robert Schlumberger, an aristocrat from Goldeck, began his career in Reims (France) at the oldest Champagne Cellar Ruinart Père et Fils. After founding Schlumberger in 1842, he started to produce sparkling wine according to the Methode Champenois. Years of experience and refinement catapulted by his hand-crafted art culminated in a 21st century product.
It is no wonder that the Schlumberger literally flows on Austrian Airlines Grand Class flights to Vienna. The extended tour through cellars where all these masterpieces are patiently waiting to be enjoyed by their high-class clientele was very interesting and informative.
Rolf Staehler, one of our American Dream Mobile test-drivers, stated in his very own unique way: “Awesome. The car cuts right to the core, elegant, easy to navigate, a delight.”
Phaeton & John Lomitola at Schlumberger
John Lomitola arrival at Schlumberger
It was now with great excitement that our American Dream Mobile Test-Driving Team decided to put the Phaeton to the test. We had seen the great Danube River which runs through the city of Vienna in somewhat of a straight line, but just a little further west lies a more rugged stretch of the river wound snake-like through a historic and picturesque region known as the Wachau. We set the GPS for the ancient village of Durnstein, located on the banks of the Danube and known historically for the castle above the village in which King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned during one of his return trips from the Crusades.

For the Phaeton the winding roads through vineyards and tunnels proved to be an effortless exercise, highlighted by the excitement created during frequent stops for photos. Upon arrival at a parkplatz as was the case often during our journey, people would stop to examine the Phaeton and ask questions while trying to disguise their curiosity.
Schloss Duernstein
Schloss Duernstein
Our own curiosity was immediately drawn to having a nice coffee and Austrian pastry somewhere overlooking the river, but first we had to negotiate the steep narrow medieval streets of Durnstein on foot.
Inspired by a Phaeton-like drive to follow the sun, we found the Hotel Schloss Durnstein strategically built on a high cliff overlooking the magnificent Danube and bathed in dappled sunlight.
Built 350 years ago and lovingly restored, rooms and restaurant have fabulous views of either the Danube or the surrounding world-class vineyards. A very hospitable Rosemarie Thiery, proprietor for the establishment, invited us in to sample 'biedermeiertorte' and café mélange while she prepared to take us on a small tour of the premises.
Durnstein is located in the heart of one of the finest wine producing regions in Austria and Ms Thiery had quietly arranged for us to meet with Anton Robert Bodenstein winemaker of the Prager Vineyards a top exporter of Austrian wines to the US.

A delightful short hop with the Phaeton took us to the strikingly terraced slopes directly under the ruins of the Castle Durnstein, from which the majestic Danube river was visible 180 degrees.
Mr. Bodenstein & Rolf Staehler
Mr. Bodenstein & Rolf Staehler
Our host Mr. Bodenstein was eager to complete his measurements of the sugar content (Brix) of his current crop of Veltliner and Riesling grape varietals and was willing to let us tag along while he traipsed through the rows of grapevines sampling here and there to test for the optimal time for harvesting. From vineyard to winery, Bodenstein seemed passionate in his pursuit of excellence and was determined to show us how it was all created in the state of the art production facility. As day came to an end we were left with the feeling of warmth and hospitality as we reminisced on our return to Vienna of the events of our truly distinguished day.
Volkswagen Phaeton
Volkswagen Phaeton
The interior of the Volkswagen Phaeton

Entering the Volkswagen Phaeton we were comforted by the finest supple leather seats and laminated wood used for the interior which is dominated by a refreshing, clear and balanced elegance. Werner Wilhelm, technical project leader for Phaeton, said that 'luxury customers expect and demand a high level of sophistication in their automobiles' and the VW interiors have maintained the highest level of quality in the industry over the past few years and judging from the Phaeton, they have raised that level of refinement as well. The Volkswagen Phaeton in our opinion really is a noble means of transportation.

The communication system for contacting the outside world consists of a telephone fixture with navigation system, an interactive vehicle operating manual, TV reception and videotext. Via the infotainment centre, the pictures can be displayed in a 16:9 and 4:3 format.
Volkswagen PhaetonCockpit
Volkswagen Phaeton Cockpit
'Audio-Visual Depth Charge©'

The infotainment centre with a 7-inch color display and the multifunction display with a 5-inch color dashboard display in the instrument cluster provide both information and entertainment to the passengers. Beside this, there is a sound system with an analogue 8-channel amplifier, ten speakers, a CD-changer for 6 CD's in the glove compartment, a multi-purpose rear window antenna (for radio, navigation, TV, telephone) and 230 W music performance.
'Parkway Pampering©'
Out-of-the-ordinary seating!

The Phaeton V10 TDI comes with two separate rear seats, soft, fine, comfy leather on the outside and loads of technology inside. The front seats are fitted with an 18-way adjustment facility, while the rear seats adjust 10-ways. Each seat has its own AC and a massage module as well as rear seat heating and a memory function for three different drivers and front-seat passengers. Can one believe it? The newly designed seating system is optimal comfort.

To see more from the interior of the Volkswagen Phaeton,
please click here to enter a VIP Tour.
Volkswagen Phaeton Seating
Volkswagen Phaeton Seating
Take a closer look
The Volkswagen Phaeton offers a large and well designed, practical trunk with a 500 liter storage compartment. Four golf bags can easily be stowed in the trunk, which can be comfortably loaded. The trunk lid of the Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI is automatically opened using a servo mechanism and closed by the click of a button or the simple touch of the VW emblem.


'Toyz in the Hood©'
The Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI

For our travel we laid our hands on the strong diesel engine available for the Volkswagen Phaeton. The V10 TDI has an output of 230 kW / 313 hp and 750 Nm of torque. Its ten-cylinder engine coupled with twin turbos is the most powerful diesel engine offered. Volkswagen has coupled it to its newly developed tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission.
Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI engine
Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI engine
Take a closer look inside
A diesel engine? Why a diesel engine?, you might ask. But you'll have to forget everything you've heard about diesel engines before.

As technology advances, diesel engines are being engineered with fewer moving parts and often outmatch gasoline engines by its richness of power and lower fuel consumption.
We got used to the engine of the Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI. Of course there are several other motorized versions of the Volkswagen Phaeton available, as for example the V6 or the V12 (Yes, they have combined two V6 engines to a 12-cylinder engine!). The Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI has been available on the European market since spring 2003 and was introduced to the US market in November 2003.
Love in 4MOTION™
It's the technology, stupid.

Besides to the powerful engine, the Volkswagen Phaeton is equipped with a wide range of technology in order to make driving as comfortable and secure as possible. Because of the combination of the four-wheel drive with an air suspension the Volkswagen Phaeton fulfils the highest demands for driving comfort and driving dynamics, but also provides a high degree of driving safety.

The air suspension chassis lowers automatically at high speeds. The Volkswagen Phaeton offers three different chassis height levels. The level is automatically actuated depending on the speed so that the driving performance and the consumption can be optimized at high speeds. And not to forget, the Volkswagen Phaeton is a true four-wheel drive vehicle. The standard 4MOTION™ four-wheel drive offers significant advantages, mainly in the areas of traction and handling and shows its advantages especially in critical load change reactions.

Thorsten, CEO of American Dream Magazine said, "What I loved most about the Phaeton is that even cruising at 150mph (>250kph), I still felt safe and secure, but then again I am used to these high speeds on the Autobahn. The power harnessed from this magnificent engine allows the Phaeton to accelerate so quickly and smoothly that we didn't even feel it shifting!"

Volkswagen has installed the latest generation of speed-dependent Servotronic steering in the Phaeton. With increasing speed, the steering force increases. This ensures pleasant ease of action when parking and, just as importantly, a significantly increasing steering force level when driving faster.

The braking system of the new Phaeton is one of the most advanced and powerful on the market. A number of standard electronic braking control systems ensure even more improvements of active safety in the Volkswagen Phaeton.
'Technological Tremors©'

How about ADR? The Volkswagen Phaeton maintains a safe distance to the vehicle ahead using an automatic distance regulator (ADR) via radar. The ADR displays the visual information relating to the distance and selected speed on the 5-inch dashboard display in the instrument cluster.

Also worth mentioning is the tire pressure control system of the Volkswagen Phaeton V10 TDI that works using remote radio signals. Electronic sensors are located in the tires and continuously measure their pressure and temperature. In the case of a rapid loss of pressure, the driver will be notified immediately.
Volkswagen Phaeton Dashboard Display
Volkswagen Phaeton Dashboard Display
More high-tech is found in the keyless entry, start and exit system. As the driver approaches the vehicle with his coded key and envelops the door handle with its capacitative sensor, the Phaeton opens its doors. If not opened within thirty seconds, the doors will lock again.
Also worth mentioning

Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the Phaeton production facility, but we can tell you that the Phaeton is built in the Transparent Factory in Dresden/Germany. From what we heard about it the dazzling glass-and-steel factory it seems to be one of the most fascinating auto plants in the world. The Transparent Factory, which has become a Dresden landmark, makes it possible for buyers to witness the creation of one's own car and symbolizes the unique manufacturing and customer service concept around the Phaeton.

The Phaeton Customer Service is worth being called one hundred percent lifetime service. It begins with the vehicle handover to the owner and continues for the entire Phaeton registration period. The Phaeton service provides optimal support of the vehicle and its driver. It also has many more benefits, such as a collection and delivery service. Repairs and maintenance purposes are coordinated by an international Technical Service Centre in Dresden, which is contacted by the local Volkswagen dealer.
Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder
Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder
Effective April 17, 2002, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG appointed Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. In this capacity, he is responsible for the Volkswagen Brand Group, including the brands Volkswagen, Škoda Auto, Bentley and Bugatti. The Phaeton, he said, would not only "lift the standard for everyone in the company", but also "add even more emotion to the Volkswagen brand".

He also stated, "We are adopting a three-pronged product offensive in the large luxury class. In the product, manufacturing and service areas, Volkswagen will pursue previously unexplored paths. Our customers will first of all acquire a high-quality saloon model; secondly, it will be built in one of the most innovative, high-standard production plants anywhere in the world - the Glass Factory - and as the third element in our new approach, Volkswagen is to offer Phaeton owners a most exceptional service concept that will remain valid for the car's entire lifetime."
John, Rolf, Stefan & Thorsten


 
 
 
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Vip Tours  | 1  

Disclaimer:

Although the above information was accurate at the time of publication, it can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all pertinent information with the companies in question before planning your trip.


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