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Audi stretches rare A8 L

Long and strong: The Audi A8 L Extended took almost a year to develop, and its all-aluminium body is designed to increase rigidity for its 4.22-metre wheelbase.

6.36-metre Audi A8 L Extended offered as a one-off for cashed-up customer

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Audi logo12 Apr 2016

AUDI has released a one-off stretched, six-door, six-seat version of its A8 L flagship limousine, ordered by one seriously cashed-up European owner.

Measuring 6360mm (6.36 metres) long and with a wheelbase of 4220mm (4.22 metres), the A8 L Extended is more than a metre longer than the production A8 L, and provides plush comfort for passengers sitting in any of its three rows.

The Extended uses a 3.0-litre TFSI V6 paired to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission, capable of producing 228kW/440Nm and racing from 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds before reaching an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.

The super-long saloon uses the quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, 19-inch wheels and an identical brake system to the one used in the hi-po S8, ensuring the 2418 kg behemoth has ample stopping power.

The interior is what you would expect from such a car – the seats are upholstered with Valcona leather, rows two and three have electronically adjustable seats and the third row comes with a continuous centre console, rear seat entertainment display and a cool box.

Each side window comes with a retractable sun-blind and overhead sits a 2400mm one-piece glass panel to let extra light into the cabin.

To make the three-door saloon a possibility, the entire body from the A-pillar backwards has been reworked.

Engineers extended the side sills and centre tunnels using extruded aluminium sections, and inside the tunnel these assist with air routing.

The passenger and luggage compartments are separated by a double rear bulkhead and the roof incorporates additional aluminium profiled tubes and cross-braces.

This increases torsional and flexural rigidity to just below the level of the A8 L.

While the A8 L Extended was initially only produced for a single customer, Audi has received requests for additional units to be produced. It is technically possible one could be built for an Australian-market buyer with seep pockets, however, it seems unlikely for now.

German rival Mercedes also builds a stretch version of its high-end S-Class sedan, dubbed the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman, that is 6499mm long with a 4418mm wheelbase and powered by a bi-turbo 6.0-litre V12 pumping out 395kW/830Nm.

So far this year 19 A8's have found homes in Australia, a five per cent slide on the same period last year. The A8 sits at the back of the premium upper large sedan segment behind the new-generation BMW 7 Series (84), Mercedes-Benz S-Class (70), Maserati Quattroporte (28) and Porsche Panamera (23).

Its 2015 output of 72 units was trumped by the S-Class (331) and BMW 7 Series (93), which received a model update in November. However, it did outsell Jaguar's flagship XJ, which moved 47 units.

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