From £52,6904

Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

A sub-8.0sec 0-60mph time is quite acceptable for a car of the Volkswagen Phaeton’s type, even if it is lagging behind the performance on offer elsewhere in the class.

With 236bhp and 369lb ft of torque, the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine is perfectly suited to the relaxed, unhurried progress encouraged by the sheer size and weight of the Phaeton. It’s mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which provides slightly ponderous gearshifts that are nonetheless well blurred and generally arrive at the right time to allow you to make the most of the spread of torque. But while the ’box does the job effectively, it also feels old in terms of the speed of its response and number of ratios compared with others in the class.

Even so, the Phaeton has good overtaking potential and feels well endowed with poke even at higher cruising speeds. A progressive step-off and well judged throttle response also make the Phaeton an easy car to drive in town, even if its size can be limiting in tight city confines.

Refinement is very good, bettering the Jaguar XJ diesel both at idle and when on the move, and economy is also comparable at 30.1mpg (averaged over our varied test route), which works with the VW’s huge 90-litre tank to give it an impressive real-world range of more than 660 miles. Emissions of 224g/km are way short of the class norm, but the Phaeton’s performance is not far off the more modern and expensive machinery it competes against.