It sure looks like a fingerpainting to us, but we're told this is a spy photo of a new VW in development. Actually, the full size shots over at Winding Road clearly show a muscular mule that has a lot of Audi DNA in its looks. It's believed to be Volkswagen's Phaeton replacement, only in coupe/cabrio form. The Phaeton never really caught on here, despite the fact that it's a pretty nice ride. This probably had a lot to do with its huge price tag, which, combined with a VW logo on the grille, scared a lot of people back to the more established luxury brands.

While most figured Volkswagen would let the name slip back into history, VW recently announced that a replacement was in the works. This new Phaeton, however, will move slightly closer to its moniker and become a hardtop convertible positioned to go head-to-head with the Mercedes-Benz SL. The mule you'll see in the photos is a chopped and widened A8, but we're not sure if it will share much with that sedan. There are rumors that it may, in fact, have more in common with Porsche's upcoming Panamera. Click over to WR for more pics and a comical recounting of what happened when the VW engineers spotted the spy photographers.

[Source: Winding Road]