Many premium luxury sedans have gone the long-wheelbase route as a means of expanding rear-seat comfort for top executives, but Audi has gone over the top with an extra, extra long (XXL) A8.
Available by special order only, the 6.36-metre A8 L Extended (the regular A8 is 5,135 mm in length; the A8 L is 5,265 mm) features spacious and comfortable seating for six, as you’d expect from any luxury limousine. At 4.22 metres, the wheelbase alone is less than a metre short of the overall A8 length. The current A8 rides on a 2992-mm wheelbase, while the A8 L uses a 3,122-mm wheelbase.
Like its smaller siblings, the XXL Audi is powered by the 3.0-litre turbocharged V-6 that makes 333 hp and 326 lb-ft of torque, distributed to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic with Tiptronic. Top speed is governed to 250 km/h, but it does get there fairly quickly, given 0-100 km/h takes just over seven seconds.
Development of the first car took a year, with the primary concerns being the maintenance of safety and of course the rigidity lost due to the excessive lengthening of the platform (an additional bulkhead behind the rear seats adds stability to reduce the added ease for body flex arising from the lengthened wheelbase). Styling also became a concern because stretch cars can’t have the same profile as the shortened versions from which they develop. Overall weight has been kept to 2,418 kg, whereas the A8 weights in at, and the A8 L at 1,980 kg, and the A8 L at 2,075.
The lengthening required extensive use of aluminum for the Audi Space Frame (with extruded aluminum sections added to the side sills and centre tunnel, and aluminum tubes and cross braces added to the roof), in order to add strength without adding more extra weight than needed (although a 2.4-metre glass roof panel does add considerable weight). Cosmetically, the body is also completely changed from the windshield back in order to preserve a harmonious roofline.
And with the added glass, the chance for interior heating increases, so the limousine is fitted with sunblinds for each row of seats in order to keep temperatures increases workable. Unlike other stretched cars, all passengers face forward, seated on grey Valcona leather seats. The second and third rows feature individual seats that are electrically adjustable. The third row is the command centre for rear passengers, with rear entertainment display and a compartment to keep drinks cool.