Defying the cynics who have proclaimed that Volkswagen couldn't give the Phaeton away, VW boss, Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, has done just that. He's has handed the keys of a long-wheelbase 6.0-liter, 450-bhp Phaeton to none other than Pope Benedict XVI. Since His Holiness is also German, this seems quite apt. It has been specially equipped to meet comfort, privacy and security requirements, though rumors of special holders for cups that runneth over are unsubstantiated.

This is not the Holy Father's first VW. As plain old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he used to drive around Rome in a MkIV Golf, which was subsequently sold for $250,000. Blessed are those with strongresidual values.

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