The world's first 4WD limo is a Volkswagen

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Volkswagen Individual, the company's in-house customizer, is charged with creating bespoke vehicles and various limited-edition, niche market and specialty models. Their involvement could be something as simple as developing a new paint color or wheels to producing a run of specifically-equipped variants of existing models.The breadth of Individual's involvement across the VW lineup came as a surprise to us, and we'll discuss that in a separate post. For now, we want to focus on a special car they created to show off their capabilities, the Phaeton Lounge stretch limousine.

A 2005 design and engineering study, this six-passenger (2 in front, 4 in back) Phaeton limo also happens to be the first 4WD vehicle of its kind. Powered by a 420-horsepower W12, the 22-foot-long Phaeton Lounge's exterior is drenched in shiny black piano lacquer and accented with flashes of chrome.

The passenger compartment is decadently luxurious, awash in premium woods and contrasting leathers. The floorboards, all wood with aluminum strips separating them, look like they belong in a megayacht, never mind a car. In addition to the rich materials used, the rear cabin is predictably feature-laden. Replete with individually adjusting seats and footrests, 12-liter refrigerator, minibar, humidor, DVD entertainment system with two 17" displays, and a hidden PC with Bluetooth peripherals and mobile internet connectivity, the Phaeton Lounge is set up to make each ride comfortable, relaxing, and, if necessary, productive.

It's tastefully executed and communicates subtle elegance inside and out. As a showcase of Volkswagen Individual's abilities, it succeeds completely.

(Press release & high-res photo gallery after the jump)

[Source: Volkswagen AG]

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Volkswagen Individual - The Exclusives: Phaeton Lounge

As you like it – the Phaeton Lounge as an example

In case of the Exclusives, everything thinkable is utilized to the fullest

The new Phaeton Lounge came into existence as a concept for the maximum that can be achieved

Wolfsburg, 08 August 2006

On the basis of the Phaeton, the designers and engineers of Volkswagen Individual create Exclusives that are uncompromisingly tailored to the needs of their future owners. By means of extensive computer simulation the customer is closely involved in the tuning and development process. Once that is done, the concepts themselves are realized with the highest handicraft art. The integration of the most modern electronic components requires a special know-how, which Volkswagen Individual has readily available. Limits with the construction of one-of-a-kind automobiles are at most set by national approval regulations and the state of the art.

The Phaeton Lounge: First Stretch Limousine with Four Wheel Drive

Elongated wheel base: As an example for the performance ability of Volkswagen Individual and the field of Exclusives, the concept vehicle Phaeton Lounge was created. As a study, it displays the pinnacle of the technically possible in the field of individual vehicle fine tuning. The Phaeton Lounge is a limousine in a class of its own. Altogether, the noble stretch limousine measures over 6.80 meters. This makes it approximately 1.80 meters longer than a traditional Phaeton. The Exclusive was combined out of three car bodies. The stretch limousine was specially reinforced in the sillboard and tunnel area.

Twelve cylinder motor: A W12 cylinder with 331 kW / 420 hp and a reinforced chassis ensure solid driving performance despite the tare weight of approximately 3.5 tons. The motor strength is transferred to all four wheels which makes the Phaeton the first stretch limousine worldwide with four wheel drive. The electronically limited maximum speed is at 180 km/h. It is shifted via a six gear automatic (Tiptronic).

As a body color for the Phaeton Lounge the designers from Volkswagen Individual chose black piano lacquer, which with its especially smooth surface structure and optical depth effect emphasizes the exclusivity of the limousine. Furthermore the radiator grille, ledges under the side windows and the model denotation at the heck of the Phaeton Lounge are held in dark shimmering chrome.

Interior held in Lounge-Style: The nobly equipped interior with its material combination of dark and light colored leather emanates an exclusive lounge atmosphere. Floor, décor and middle console are out of dark, wide pore oak wood. The high grade wood has continuous grain and is commonly used in ship building. The floor is ornamented with fine aluminum inlays. The seats and side paneling in the passenger compartment are upholstered with the Volkswagen sensitive leather in the color combination "Sun Beige" and "Pure Beige". The ceiling consists of the finest Alcantara.

Altogether the Phaeton Lounge offers enough room for six people. In the rear of the car, four passengers can comfortably sit across from each other on spacious and individually adjustable single seats while the front has room for two additional people. As is custom with stretch limousines, the passenger area can be divided from the driver area with a tinted partition.

A relaxed journey is guaranteed through a multitude of exceptional extras. The four seats are individually adjustable for each passenger. Additionally adjustable footrests provide comfortable seating. The air conditioning can also be adjusted separately for each seat. Tinted windows protect the entire back of the car from nosey looks. Located between the back seats is a refrigerator with twelve liter capacity. And extendable minibar in the middle console offers room for further refreshments and two glasses. Cigars are perfectly stored in a custom made humidor made of oak and cedar wood.

State of the art electronic for work and entertainment: Two 17 inch monitors are integrated in the ceiling and can be released by the push of a button. A DVD changer is stored in the trunk and another DVD player is stored directly in the back and enables the loading of DVDs while driving. But not only movies can be shown on the screen, the navigation map can also viewed. The view and operation of the infotainment system is possible via a separate 7 inch screen in the head area of the rear seat row. Special headsets actively suppress ambient noise and thus provide the best sound.

Various external devices can be connected to the monitors and radio navigation via an interface. An iPod preparation is integrated in the rear middle arm rest, where the provided MP3 Player only needs to be plugged in.

The Phaeton Lounge also has a multitude of equipment features for work. Per seat a perfectly crafted wooden table can be folded up out of the middle console. A computer has been integrated in the trunk. The mouse and keyboard in the interior of the car are connected to the PC via Bluetooth. Additionally, a USB interface is integrated into the middle console. Via a fast UMTS connection guests on board can surf the internet and send and receive emails.

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