Some cars are designed to be driven, and some are designed to be driven in. Then there are those luxury cars that straddle both worlds, sedans that have been engineered to offer not just a pleasing experience behind the wheel but also opulent comfort for those riding in the second tier of seating. This class of car can be identified by the option of an extended or long-wheelbase model which stretches out the vehicle's passenger compartment in order to create a truly spacious environment for drinking champagne, poring over quarterly reports or simply watching the scenery pass by.
Let's take a quick look at eight luxury cars available in long-wheelbase editions.
01. 2011 Jaguar XJ
The 2011 Jaguar XJ's recent redesign brought with it the Jaguar XJL, a stretched version of the sleek sedan that introduces another five-inches of space to the already generous interior of the luxury car. What other goodies come with the Jaguar XJL? It features four zones of automatic climate control, heated and cooled seats both front and back and a liberal application of leather trim on top of the standard Jaguar XJ equipment list. An array of sunshades also serve to protect riders from harsh UV light while stuck in traffic. The Jaguar XJL benefits from the complete array of engine options available to the XJ, including 385 horsepower, 470 horsepower and 510 horsepower versions of the brand's 5.0-liter V-8 (with the latter two benefiting from the use of a supercharger).
02. 2011 BMW 7 Series
The 2011 BMW 7 Series has long been available in both standard and extended-wheelbase models, a feature befitting the German luxury car's flagship sedan status. The long-wheelbase model is denoted by the addition of the letter L to the vehicle's identifier, with three editions of the car available: the 740Li, the 750Li and the 760Li. The first two make use of the same drivetrains as their regular-wheelbase siblings (315 horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine and a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo 400 horsepower V-8, respectively), while the 760Li benefits from an exclusive twin-turbo, 535 horsepower V-12. All-wheel drive is available as an option on the 750Li.
The 2011 BMW 7 Series Li models offer five-and-a-half-inches of additional interior length. The Li also makes available features such as an air suspension system, massaging rear seats and high end options not available on standard versions of the sedan, including the 760Li's exclusive active steering system.
03. 2011 Lincoln Town Car
The 2011 Lincoln Town Car was seemingly custom-designed for fleet use, with limousine operators across the country considering the sedan a "go-to" option. The Lincoln Town Car Signature L model makes this same long-wheelbase, ultra-comfortable edition of the car available to retail buyers as well. Six-inches longer than the regular Town Car, the Signature L also comes with heated rear seats, a center console armrest and the ability to interact with the vehicle's heating and stereo system via a second set of controls. Like all Lincoln Town Cars, the Signature L features a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that is good for 239 horsepower.
04. 2011 Audi A8
The 2011 Audi A8's long-wheelbase twin is the called the Audi A8L. 5.1-inches of additional interior length provides accommodations fit for a king - or queen - in the backseat, an arrangement that can be further enhanced through the installation of the Executive Rear Seating package which offers individual power adjustments for right and left-side occupants, a cooled compartment for storing drinks and snacks, footrests and a DVD entertainment system. The A8L can also be had with a higher grade of leather seating as well as the option of four zones of automatic climate control. Under the hood the 2011 Audi A8 and Audi A8L both offer a 4.2-liter V-8 engine that generates 372 horsepower. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard on the sedan.
05. 2011 Cadillac DTS
The 2011 Cadillac DTS is already a substantial player in the full-size luxury sedan scene when it comes to overall length, but the Cadillac DTS-L model stretches out the vehicle's platform to offer livery buyers and a few lucky private owners the chance to revel in a whopping eight extra inches of wheelbase. The Cadillac DTS-L is also marketed based on its ability to conceal the faces of rear-seat riders from prying eyes behind its thicker c-pillar. The vehicle, which is powered by a 4.6-liter V-8 good for up to 292 horses, additionally features the option of an adaptive suspension system, three zones of automatic climate control and heated rear seats.
06. 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost
The 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost is a formidable mega-luxury model whose suicide doors, monolithic styling and hefty price tag make it a compelling option for billionaire playboys and up-and-coming entertainment stars. Although details have yet to be released, Rolls-Royce will be releasing a stretched edition of the Ghost for the 2012 model year - one which will improve on the vehicle's already titanic overall length of 17.7-feet. A twin-turbocharged 6.6-literm 563 horsepower V-12 provides more than enough thrust for the Ghost, no matter what length it might grow to, and given that the company is willing to build the interior of the sedan to the exact specifications of each buyer there is virtually no limit as to what type of luxurious equipment can be stuffed into its enormous confines.
07. 2011 Lexus LS
The 2011 Lexus LS joins its Teutonic full-size premium competitors with an extended-wheelbase model of its own, known as the L. The Lexus LS 460 L gains five inches in total length, and it also comes with power door closers, heated rear seats and of course wood trim. It's also possible to deck out the LS 460 L with the Rear Seat Upgrade package that installs a separate dual zone climate control system for backseat passengers, a fridge and massaging power buckets. Going all-out with the Executive-Class Seating package provides a retractable table, a center console, DVD entertainment and a reclining right rear seat that includes a leg rest. The Lexus LS 460 L offers a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that generates 380 horsepower, while the exclusive hybrid LS 600h L teams a pair of electric motors with a 5.0-liter V-8 in order to push out a total of 438 horsepower.
08. 2012 Porsche Panamera
The 2012 Porsche Panamera has already generated its fair share of controversy in the luxury car world, as Porsche purists alternately decry and celebrate the brand's first four-door sedan. The clamor will most likely get louder with word that Porsche is in the midst of developing a long-wheelbase version of the Panamera that will appeal to sporty sedan fans who also happen to require executive-levels of interior volume. Visually the extended-wheelbase Porsche Panamera, which will grow five-inches in length, will be identifiable via its longer rear door openings. Little is known about drivetrain options for the upcoming model, but currently the Panamera's engine choices range from a 300 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 all the way up to a 540 horsepower, twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8.