The interior is exactly what you'd expect in a premium luxury car. Fine-grained walnut wood inlays, sinfully soft Italian leather, tasteful chrome accents and an incredibly long list of amenities. The Phaeton W12's list of standard equipment is so extensive it would take at least a page in the magazine to detail them all out. Here's just a sampling: an 18-way power-adjustable heated driver's seat with a 10-min. massage function (the passenger seat is only adjustable 16 ways, while the rear seats are merely heated); a navigation system; the aforementioned infotainment system that includes a 12-speaker, 12-channel 270-watt sound system with a glovebox-mounted six CD changer-it is an awesome-sounding system; a four-spoke leather-wrapped heated multifunction steering wheel; VW telemateics provided by On-Star(r); and four-zone climate control (Climatronic) with rear controls and display for the rear passengers.

Speaking of the rear passengers, they'll have ample room in the back seat. The U.S.-destined Phaetons are the stretched versions, measuring nearly 5 in. longer for a total length of 204 in. And depending on your people-hauling needs, you can have your Phaeton outfitted with the Four-seater Package option, which includes two 10-way power-adjustable heated seats and an integrated rear center console.

The time spent in the Phaeton W12 was brief, less than a day's worth of driving from Dresden to Berlin. Still, I was able to get the feel of this luxury sedan upstart. The W12 is a responsive engine that smoothly pulls the long-wheel-based sedan along. The air suspension combined with the awd 4Motion makes the 5,399-lb car behave like one that is much lighter. The interior is so well appointed that I could have spent many more hours driving-or riding in-it. The thought of wandering off across Germany for a day or two crossed my mind before giving the car back. (Volkswagen was pleased that I didn't.) I really wanted to spend more time in such an enjoyable car.

For those who doubted Volkswagen could do it, be prepared to change your minds. The company has done what it said it would do: make a viable entry into the ultra-luxury market segment. The W12 pricing has yet to be announced, but expect in the $60,000s for the base V8 model. Obviously, the W12 will be a bit higher, but whatever the final tag, the Phaeton W12 is well worth it.

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