• Sep 16th 2009 at 7:01AM
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2010 Volkswagen Phaeton Exclusive - Click above for high-res image gallery

When it comes to the Phaeton, we really don't care what anyone else thinks. The only justification we'll offer is that back in the early 2000s, VW's ubermensch Ferdinand Piech took off the calf-skin gloves and dropped the mother of all gauntlets. He told commanded engineers to build A) the very best high performance hypercar the world had ever seen, and, B) an equally superb luxury sedan. The results, as you may have guessed, were the Veyron and the Phaeton. A little bit of this high high-falutin' zeitgeist rubbed off on the Touareg as well -- especially the twin-turbo TDI V10 monster.

The whole Phaeton can'o'worms is quite messy in the States. To put it bluntly, the grand sedan completely failed. Still, anyone that's spent so much as thirty seconds in the back seat knows that the Phaeton's failure in WalMart country had nothing to do with the Phaeton. Proof? Volkswagen, who by year's end is projected to be the largest automaker in the world and therefor knows a thing or two about cars, is bringing the Phaeton back to our red, white und blue shores. This particular Phaeton Exclusive (featuring the universe's glossiest, deepest and darkest black paint) is actually sporting the 2007 facelift. But you can rest easy, secure in the knowledge we'll be getting the new Phaeton when it returns to the US in 2011.

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