Ze Germans are pushing hard with their latest round of full-size sedans, with BMW's latest 7-Series dressing up and delivering on performance, the S-Class set to go all-hybrid, and the Audi A8 going even further on its under-the-radar looks. The latest addition to the battle is the 2011 A8L, the long-wheelbase version, expected to make its debut at the Beijing Auto Show, which kicks off its press days April 23.
The long-wheelbase version is expected to be largely the same as the newly unveiled normal-wheelbase sedan, though it may yet get some unique upgrades specific to its limousine status. Exactly what those might be, however, we'll have to wait and see.
Powertrains are likely to be identical to the standard A8, with a pair of gasoline engines, both V-8 and V-6, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Non-U.S. markets are sure to get diesel versions as well, though it's not yet clear what the U.S. status of the oil-burners might be. Both front- and all-wheel drive versions are expected, though the limo will almost certainly be primarily optioned with Audi's famed quattro system.
The V-8 gas engine is rated at 372 horsepower from its 4.2-liter displacement, shooting the standard sedan to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, a figure the slightly longer A8L should be able to match.
Accommodations are sure to be roomy, as even the standard 2011 Audi A8 has grown by two inches in wheelbase over the previous version, meaning the LWB A8 will be even longer. It's still smaller than the comparable BMW 7-Series, however, and the A8L will need to grow by about 7 inches to match the limo versions of the S-Class and 7er. Despite the larger size of the current-gen A8, Audi claims the car is between 50 and 400 pounds lighter than the rear- and all-wheel drive variants of its prime competition.
We'll have to wait for the Beijing Auto Show later this month for the full details, but to see what to expect, check out our full preview of the 2011 Audi A8 sedan here.