I can tell you are having fun with your new toy! That's great, because that's why we buy these cars. Just wait another week, and you will be taking it apart like me.
I'll try to answer your questions one at a time.
Quote, originally posted by viscount » Is it true that these cars were built by hand at certain points in the manufacturing process?
Yes, very true. In fact, the Phaeton is built by hand at EVERY step of the manufacturing process, with only two exceptions: First, when the well that holds the spare tire is fitted into the bodyshell, and second, when the fully 'stuffed' bodyshell is mated to the running gear. Every other assembly action is done by hand, by individual craftspeople who work, alone, on the car.
You mentioned that the quarterpanels are a bit spongy. This is by design, the quarterpanels are made of plastic. Give one a gentle push at the top of the front wheel arch and see what happens. I think this accounts for why you can also push and deform the rear bumper, and the front body panel around the headlights. These parts are also made of plastic.
Manufacturing tolerances for body gaps are tighter on the Phaeton than on any other production car in the world. In some cases, such as the gap between the inboard edge of the headlights and the grille, the allowable tolerance is only 1 mm.
Quote, originally posted by viscount » ...for the last 2 days the tire pressure light has been coming on and intermittently saying flat tire......tonight I checked and the tire only had 20 PSI !
Hey, good to hear that the system does what it is supposed to do, which is alert the driver when there is a problem with a tire.
I am pretty cautious with tire pressure monitoring, perhaps because I spend half of each year riding a motorcycle at very high speeds throughout Europe. The moto does not have a TPMS, so, I check pressures every morning, without fail. When I first picked up the Phaeton, any time the TPMS system gave me a warning, I would check the tire pressures the next morning (when the tires were stone cold) before resetting the system.
My experience has been this: For the first month of ownership of the new Phaeton, tire pressures did drop a little bit in some of the tires. I topped them up at the local pump (checking the pressure reading with my own gauge, not relying on the pump). After the first month of driving (about 500 miles), everything settled down, and the tire pressures have not changed at all, excepting when we have a very severe cold snap. When that happens, I usually just ignore the warning for the first day of the cold snap, and if it persists, then I check the pressures manually before I reset the system.
Snap-On Tools makes a very handy, easy to use tire pressure gauge. The one I have has a hose on the end of it, so I can fit the coupling over the valve stem, and hold the gauge face the way I want it, to make it easy to read. It also has a 'pressure reading hold' button on the side of it. This gauge cost me about USD $25 some years ago, and it is money well spent. FWIW, if you plan to buy a good quality tire gauge, buy a bulky good quality tire gauge - they are harder to lose than the very small ones that fit in your pocket. Photo below.
Snap-On Tools Tire Pressure Gauge