The Volkswagen sedan you see on the trailer above with its badges covered up is not a Jetta or a Passat. Notice the twin rear tailpipes, one on each side of the rear bumper? You’re looking at the ultimate Volkswagen – the Phaeton! And the car’s presence here in Malaysia could be an indication of an impending launch.

If you think the Audi A8 is the underdog choice in the full size luxury car segment, you haven’t met the Volkswagen Phaeton yet. The Phaeton is the ultimate underdog luxury car – said to be brilliant in its capabilities by the motoring press but somehow losing out in sales to the S-Class and the 7-Series because of a “people’s car” badge.

The car you see above is the latest 2011 facelifted version, with a refreshed front and rear, now featuring headlamps with LED daytime running lights and new tail lamps that bring it in line with the current Volkswagen design language. I’m not entirely sure whether the car above is the long wheelbase version or the short wheelbase version though, but most of the players in that segment in this country offer only the long wheelbase version because of the buyer profile.

Curiously, the Phaeton is only available as a V6 TDI in the UK. There are also other engines available of course – I don’t see Volkswagen offering diesels here at this point of time. The Phaeton’s petrol engine line-up include a base V6 FSI engine producing 280 PS, accompanying a V8 and a top of the line line W12 producing 335 PS and 450 PS respectively.

Look after the jump for a picture gallery of the Phaeton facelift.

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