2017 Audi A8L Extended

2017 audi a8l extended – DOC663691

Thanks to car paparazzi that spend most of their time searching for test prototypes, we are now able to have a glance at future production vehicles several months (and sometime years) before they hit dealerships. Most of them hit the streets wearing heavy camouflage, while others are mules hidden under older body panels, but most of the time we know what we’re dealing with thanks to company insiders and our spy’s ability to dig up precious information. However, there are times when we receive spy shots of cars we simply don’t know what to make of. It’s been a while since it happened, but this extended-wheelbase, six-door Audi A8 is here to remind us that some mysteries are more difficult to solve than others.

The longer-than-usual A8 was spotted somewhere in snowy Sweden, and although it’s completely free of camouflage, the license plates link it to Audi’ s hometown, Ingolstadt, which suggests we’re looking at a test vehicle. On the other hand, the fact that the current A8 will be replaced soon by a redesigned model makes this extended, six-door model an even bigger enigma. Is Audi planning to launch it as a limited-run model in a few months or is this a bespoke vehicle built for the government or a celebrity?

Making things even more confusing is the fact that an identical vehicle was delivered to Harald V, the King of Norway, earlier in January 2016. Norway’s head of state celebrated his 25th anniversary as king and decided to replace his previous long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz E-Class with a six-door A8. So what is Audi up to with this vehicle? It’s too early to jump to any conclusions, but so far we know that it is called the A8L Extended, as confirmed by Audi for Norwegian outlet Autofil. Until more info becomes available, let’s have a closer look at this limousine in the speculative review below.

Exterior

Audi A8L Extended

Styling-wise, the A8L Extended is identical to the production A8 save for the longer wheelbase and the extra doors. But, while the front and rear fascias are the same, this thing is huge compared to the standard full-size sedan. The vehicle appears to be about 40 inches longer, which was just enough to allow Audi to add a third door on each side. The extra body panels, the redesigned side skirts, and the elongated roof blend in seamlessly, which suggests this A8 is as production ready as they get.

Interior

We have no photos of the test car’s interior, but based on the pictures provided by Autofil with Harald V’s model, the cabin is also identical to the standard A8’s as far as design and convenience features go. What sets it apart from its stock sibling are the extra seats in the middle, which transforms it into a seven seater with a 2+2+3 configuration. We have a feeling that Audi can replace the two seats in the middle with a bench, which would allow the car to seat up to eight people.

We have a feeling that Audi can replace the two seats in the middle with a bench, which would allow the car to seat up to eight people.

But while we’ve seen high-end limousines that can seat more than five, most of them are four-doors and their second-row seats face rearward. This is where the A8L Extended stands out yet again, as all three rows face forward. This also explains the six-door configuration, which allows easier access to the second-row seats.

Another detail worth mentioning is that the rear doors seem to be longer than those of the extended wheelbase versions of the standard A8. This could mean there is more legroom for third-row passengers.

Drivetrain

Audi A8L Extended

The engine hiding under the hood is a mystery as of this writing, but it’s safe to assume that Audi went with one of the powerplants available with the shorter A8L. Depending on the market, the A8L can be had with either a 262-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 TDI, a 385-horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 TDI, a 310-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 TFSI, or a 435-horsepower 4.0-liter V-8 TFSI. Each of these engines is 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. No matter the powerplant, its safe to assume that the limousine sports an all-wheel drive quattro system.

Prices

Should Audi put the A8L Extended on the assembly line, it will probably fetch 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.

Competition

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

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 and 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.

Mercedes-Maybach Pullman

Mercedes-Maybach Pullman

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.

Conclusion

Audi A8L Extended

While we have no idea as to what plans Audi has for this limousine, we have to give Ingolstadt credit for taking a different approach and building a six-door, extended-wheelbase A8. 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. We’ll be back with updates on the A8L Extended as soon as we have them.

LOVE IT

  • Provides seating for at least seven
  • Powerful engines to choose from
  • Luxurious interior

LEAVE IT

  • Not as appealing as the Maybach S-Class
  • Not yet confirmed for production
  • The current A8 will be gone in about a year or so