Audi joins the ultra-luxury segment with a six-door version of the A8

In early 2016 our paparazzi spotted a longer-than-usual Audi A8 somewhere in snowy Sweden. The limousine had six doors instead of four and looked awfully similar to the vehicle that was delivered to Harald V, the King of Norway, earlier last month, but the German license plate suggested the car in question was a test vehicle. Three months have passed since then and Audi confirmed that it has began producing a six-door variant of its full-size sedan.

Dubbed A8L Extended, the ultra-long, luxury model was conceived as a special one-off for an unnamed "European customer" and development took almost a year. Having received further requests for the custom sedan, Audi is launching the A8L Extended as a bespoke, limited-edition model that will rival offerings from Mercedes-Maybach.

Details about the six-door A8 and its availability are still scant, but Audi has provided just enough details and photos to learn more about the brand’s first venture into the ultra-luxury market. Have a look at our in-depth review below and stay tuned for information on pricing and options that will be made available for the XXL sedan.

Updated 04/11/2016: Audi dropped the official details on the A8L Extended.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi A8 Limousine.

  • 2017 Audi A8L Extended
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed Tiptronic automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    310
  • Torque @ RPM:
    325
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    € 150000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Audi A8L Extended High Resolution Exterior
- image 672159
Speaking of length, the A8L Extended is 42.9 inches longer than the standard A8

Styling-wise, the A8L Extended is identical to the production A8 from the nose to the A-pillar and from the D-pillar to the rear fascia. In other words, Audi crafted an entirely new center section that features six doors instead of four, redesigned side windows, and character lines altered to suit the extra length of the car. Speaking of length, the A8L Extended is 42.9 inches longer than the standard A8, all of which has gone into the wheelbase. The overall length is 250.39 inches, while the wheelbase measures 166.14 inches.

Audi says the limousine also received extended side sills and center tunnel, meaning that the car should also be wider than the standard A8. Other details that set it apart are the small side marker lights in the headlamps and taillights, which are required by law for vehicles of this length. The model shown here is finished in Moonlight Blue, but customers should be able to choose other colors from Audi’s standard and optional palette as well.

Interior

2017 Audi A8L Extended High Resolution Interior
- image 672160

The cabin of the A8L Extended is also identical to the standard A8’s as far as design and convenience features go, but the configuration changes behind the front seats. What sets it apart from its smaller sibling are the extra seats in the middle, which transforms it into a six-seater with a 2+2+2 configuration, the high-end upholstery, and the genuine wood trim, among others.

All six seats are upholstered in extra-supple Valcona leather in Velvet Beige.

Another detail worth mentioning is that all three rows face forward, whereas other six-seaters come with second-row seats facing rearward.

All six seats are upholstered in extra-supple Valcona leather in Velvet Beige. Rows two and three feature electrically adjustable individual seats, while the third row has a continuous center console, a Rear Seat Entertainment display, and a cooling box.

Definitely not the kind of vehicle you’d want to ride shotgun in...

Another feature that sets it apart is the massive 2.4-meter glass panel in the roof which does a great job at enhancing the sense of spaciousness and providing plenty of natural light for all passengers. The sedan is also equipped with sun blinds for each row of seats to prevent the cabin from overheating in strong sunlight.

Drivetrain

2017 Audi A8L Extended High Resolution Exterior
- image 672158

Motivation from the A8L extended comes from Audi’s familiar 3.0-liter TFSI V-6. The gasoline engine pumps out 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, which propels the sedan from 0 to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph. All that power travels to all four wheels through an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic and a Quattro all-wheel drive system.

All that power travels to all four wheels through an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic and a Quattro all-wheel drive system.

While it’s not as quick as the standard A8 with the 3.0 TFSI, which needs about 5.5 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start, the A8L Extended is fairly fast for a vehicle that’s more than six meters long and features extra body reinforcement for enhanced safety and torsional rigidity. For reference, the six-door model is nearly 500 kg (1,102 pounds) heavier than the standard A8 at 2,418 kg (5,330 pounds).

Stopping power is provided by a breaking system borrowed from the performance-oriented Audi S8. It comes with larger discs, upgraded calipers and provides a shorter braking distance compared to the one used by the standard A8.

There’s no word as to whether Audi plans to drop other drivetrains in this model, but should that be the case, customers would have access to a large variety of engines. Depending on the market, the regular A8L can be had with either a 262-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 TDI, a 385-horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 TDI or a 435-horsepower 4.0-liter V-8 TFSI. Each of these engines are powerful enough to move the significantly heavier A8L Extended, but Audi also has the option of using the A8L W12’s 6.3-liter W-12 FSI, which sends 500 horsepower to the wheels.

Prices

There’s no pricing information as of this writing, but it’s safe to assume that the A8L Extended likely fetches in excess of €150,000 (around $164,450) before options in Europe. For reference, the standard A8 retails from €81,000 (about $88,700), while the A8L W12 starts from €143,800 (around $157,500) in Germany. Also, there’s no word on whether or not the six-door A8L will be sold in the United States.

Competition

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 599556
Mercedes-Benz has finally revealed the European pricing for the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

The Maybach S-Class might have a shorter wheelbase and room for only four people, but it makes up for that thanks to its more appealing design and luxurious interior. It comes with soft rear bucket seats covered in perforated leather, enormous legroom, a set of tables that extend out from the center console, and a Burmester 3D surround sound system. Power comes from either a 4.7-liter V-8 or a 6.0-liter V-12 rated at 455 or 530 horsepower, respectively. Prices for the Maybach S600, the only model available in the U.S. start from $189,350, which is a $20,300 premium over the standard S600.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class here.

Mercedes-Maybach Pullman

2016 Mercedes-Maybach Pullman High Resolution Exterior
- image 617799

The Pullman version of the same vehicle is more suited to compete against the A8L Extended as far as size and seating goes. It’s significantly longer than the Maybach S-Class and it provides seating for six, with its second-row seats are facing rearward. However, the Pullman is a much more opulent proposition, sporting features Audi can’t match. Hihglights include reclining executive seats in the rear, loads of legroom with the second-row seats folded down, fine leather surfaces, genuine wood, and endless customization options. Power is provided by a 6.0-liter V-12 that cranks out 523 horsepower and a whopping 612 pound-feet of torque. Pricing is said to start at around €500,000 (nearly $550,000), which puts it in the same league with the long-wheelbase version of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Read more about the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman here.

Conclusion

2017 Audi A8L Extended High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 672155

While the A8L Extended is based on a model that’s already six years old, we have to give Ingolstadt credit for taking a different approach and building a six-door, extended-wheelbase full-size. A limited-run edition might not make much sense in Europe, but a six-door A8 could have some success in China, where sedans with extra legroom (and in this case the ability to carry more than five) are highly appreciated. It remains to be seen whether the A8L Extended will be able to give Mercedes and Maybach limousines a run for their money.

  • Leave it
    • Not as appealing as the Maybach S-Class
    • The current A8 will be gone in about a year or so
    • U.S. availability unknown

Press Release

Audi has gone to even greater lengths to deliver all of the familiar trappings associated with its flagship A8 L model in an entirely unique format of considerable proportions. At the special request of a European customer, the premium brand has created the Audi A8 L extended, a built-to-order model measuring 6.36 metres (20.9 ft) in length and with a wheelbase of 4.22 metres (13.8 ft). The A8 L extended affords exquisite comfort for passengers occupying all of its six seats. Audi has further requests for the custom product already.

Experts invested almost a year in developing and building the exceptionally long luxury saloon. The result was an exclusive one-off specimen that meets the high standards of the production model in every domain. The major challenges concerned the safety and rigidity of the extra-large body, as well as the styling of the silhouette.

The Audi A8 L extended benefits from the low weight of the production model’s body, which uses an Audi Space Frame design and is made almost entirely from aluminium. For the built-to-order version the engineers extended the side sills and centre tunnel using extruded aluminium sections.

Inside the tunnel, these also assist with the air routing. A double rear bulkhead separates the passenger compartment from the luggage compartment; the roof incorporates additional aluminium profiled tubes and cross-braces. These measures provide torsional and flexural rigidity almost on a par with the A8 L.

The representative XXL saloon in discreet moonlight blue, metallic offers 1.09 metres (3.6 ft) more wheelbase and overall length than the Audi A8. To maintain a harmonious roof line, the entire body from the A-pillar back has been reworked.

The experts embedded a 2.40-metre (7.9 ft) glass panel in the roof skin to enhance the sense of spaciousness.

The sun blinds – one for each row of seats – prevent overheating of the interior in strong sunlight. The headlights and rear lights incorporate small side marker lights, as is prescribed by law for vehicles of this length.

All passengers face the direction of travel in the Audi A8 L extended. The six seats are upholstered in extra-supple Valcona leather, in the colour velvet beige. Rows two and three feature electrically adjustable individual seats. The third row has a continuous centre console, a Rear Seat Entertainment display and a cool box.

The one-off A8 version is powered by a 3.0 TFSI engine developing 310 PS, delivering up to 440 Nm (324.5 lb‑ft) of torque. This propels the saloon from 0 to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds and up to an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph. An eight-speed tiptronic transfers engine power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. The 19‑inch wheels in 15‑spoke design conceal the brake system of the Audi S8, which assures outstanding deceleration of the over six-metre-long (19.7 ft) luxury saloon, with its unladen weight of 2,418 kilograms.

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