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Volkswagen Just Launched A $97,000 Luxury Sedan In China

It's the heir to the Phaeton and uncle to the Passat.

The Chinese car market is rather strange. Its domestic automakers produce some rather horrific cars (or copies), and drivers seem to love sedans with extended wheelbases. But the market is massive, and most people want better cars than what local automakers offer. That explains why foreign automakers have flocked to the country in recent years. Some even manufacture there with Chinese partners. The Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture is responsible for this car, the Volkswagen Phideon, which Car News China reports has just been launched.

The company's new Chinese flagship was previewed in 2014 and has finally been released two years later. The Phideon slots in between the smaller Passat and larger, imported Phaeton and uses VW's MLB 2 platform, the same found in the China-made Audi A6L. It's packed with all the right features that take it beyond VW's offerings found on our side of the world. When they make them longer, they make them more luxurious too. In many cases these cars are for the wealthy who prefer to be driven, hence the need for extra rear leg room. Interiors feature Nappa leather, tray tables, arm rests, pillows on the headrests and rear aircon and radio controls. Oddly there's no rear entertainment system but there is a fridge in the top-tier model.

The exterior looks good, really good. Styling is in line with VW's current architecture, and on a longer car it looks better stanced. Under the hood there's a choice of two engines, a 224 hp 2.0-liter TSI with 258 lb-ft of torque and a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 299 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque. Both use a seven-speed DCT transmission. The Phideon isn't cheap. The range kicks off at the equivalent of $51,000 and the daddy version will cost as much as $97,000. Car News China reports the competitors for the car include the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class L, BMW 5Li, Volvo S90L and the Audi A6L. So far there are no plans to release the Phideon outside the Chinese market.

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