Earlier reports suggested that Volkswagen may be canceling the range-topping Phaeton sedan. Some opined that it'd be right to do so – the big saloon was never the runaway global success Volkswagen had hoped for. It seems customers, in the United States especially, weren't prepared to drop that kind of dough on a VW.

Such rumors are now looking to be just plain wrong, as Volkswagen prepares not just one, but two sequential replacements for the uber-sedan. The first is a minor facelift to update the Phaeton's styling to be more like – perversely – the Polo supermini (and also like the Passat and Golf for that matter). The front bumper, headlights and hood are all revised, and inside the CD navigation system is replaced by a DVD version.

The facelift is just to tide the Phaeton over until its complete replacement comes in 2009. The all-new sedan is expected to take on more coupe-like styling, in the same vein as the Mercedes CLS. The 2009 Phaeton will also go down-market a bit so as not to compete with the Audi A8, but still positioned significantly higher than the Passat.

With cars like the Bugatti Veyron and the all-conquering Audi racers dominating Le Mans, we all know what happens when the people at the Volkswagen group set their minds to something, so this ought to be interesting....

(Follow the link for more pics of the revised Phaeton caught in the wild)

[Source: World Car Fans]