2014 lexus ls600
Sometimes 'big' just isn't enough in the luxury world, and for those who want to stretch out and truly be pampered inside their full-size ride then a long wheelbase car is the clear choice. Once the sole purvey of royalty and the exceptionally well off, long wheelbase cars still enjoy a certain exclusivity but have multiplied in number over the course of the past decade. In some markets - particularly China - one can find long wheelbase editions of almost any luxury sedan, but here in the U.S. these extended models are typically restricted to flagships packed with technology and comfort gear.
Let's take a quick look at 7 extended wheelbase cars and see what they have to offer the discerning rear-seat passenger.
The 2015 Infiniti Q70 L is the newest kid on the long wheelbase car block, as this fresh model stretches out the mid-size sedan's sleek proportions across a greater palette. That's right, we said mid-size: although not a small car, the Infiniti Q70 L is really the only extended wheelbase vehicle in its class, a direct result of the influence of Chinese drivers craving more interior space (the Q70 L was released there first). How does this shake out for North American riders? There's an extra 5.6 inches of legroom to be found in the Infiniti regardless of whether you order the vehicle with a V-6 or V-8 engine, and the car measures 5.9-inches longer overall - a consideration for any chauffeur looking to park this amplified luxury cruiser in a crowded lot. It also provides enough additional interior room to push the Q70 L past the mid-size appellation of the standard Q70 and boost it into the full-size segment.
Photo by Infiniti
The 2015 Jaguar XJ L - available in several different varieties, including the Supercharged and R models, which accent performance - illustrate just how much an extended wheelbase car is intended to please passengers rather than drivers. There's an extra 4.9 inches of wheelbase separating the XJ from the XJ L, and that allows for a full 5.1 inches of additional legroom. Sitting in the back of the Jaguar XJ L reveals an Old World take on what a luxury car should offer (wooden trays for working or snacking) combined with modern features (massaging seats, foot rests). The sedan is of course longer overall than its standard wheelbase sibling, measuring 206.8 inches, but fortunately the use of an aluminum chassis helps the XJ L stay light on its feet, which means there's a bit of fun to be had by drivers once they've dropped off their employers for the night.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is sold around the world in both long and short wheelbase versions, but Americans are exclusively provided with the former. This means that all Mercedes-Benz S-Class models sold in the United Sates - the S550, the S600, the S63 AMG 4MATIC, and the S65 AMG - are all extended wheelbase cars. There's no standard length car to compare the extended S-Class against in North America at this time, but with an overall length of 206.5 inches and a wheelbase of 124.6 inches the Mercedes-Benz is certainly competitive with other longer cars in its class, and has in fact served as the de facto leader of the segment since its introduction in 1954.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
The 2015 Audi A8 L offers a long wheelbase car to German luxury aficionados who are seduced by the combination of quattro all-wheel drive and aluminum-intensive platform design that go hand in hand with this top-tier automobile. The Audi A8 L is available with gas V-6, turbodiesel V-6, and V-8 drivetrain options, with a special A8 L W12 edition offering a stupendous 12-cylinder motor, and its 122.9 inch wheelbase is 5.1 inches greater than that of the entry-level A8. This translates into greater legroom out back in the sedan, providing an additional four inches in which to relax amidst the splendor of power adjustable rear seats featuring heating, ventilation, and massage capabilities.
The 2015 BMW 7 Series Li offers the choice between six, eight and twelve-cylinder turbocharged power for those seeking an extended wheelbase luxury car. Each are also available with all-wheel drive, which broadens the extended wheelbase BMW 7 Series lineup to four models. A 126.4 inch wheelbase for the Li editions of the 7 Series makes it 5.5 inches longer overall than the base sedan, and this translates almost exactly into the extra amount of legroom offered by the automobile. You get the same massaging and climate controlled seats in the BMW that you would in the Audi, along with a respectable level of on-road comfort and isolation from the outside world.
Photo by BMW
The 2015 Porsche Panamera Executive line-up - which includes 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S variants - stretches out the brand's only sedan across a long wheelbase chassis. With a wheelbase that measures 5.9 inches greater than that of the entry-level Porsche Panamera, the Executive editions of the car also throw in standard air suspension as well as additional sound insulation, four zones of automatic climate control, and power adjustments to go with the rear seats' cooling and heating features. Every engine offered by the Panamera Executive is turbocharged, ranging from a V-6 found in the 4S to the pair of V-8s snugged under the hood of the Turbo and Turbo S. All-wheel drive is also included free of charge with the automobile.
The 2015 Lexus LX provides a pair of extended wheelbase options for well-heeled shoppers. The Lexus LX 460 L injects 4.8 inches between the front and rear wheels, which surprisingly only adds an extra inch of legroom for rear seat riders to enjoy their opulent, and massage-capable surroundings. The Lexus 600h L goes hybrid, but not in the way that you think - as long as the 460 L, the electric motor associated with the 600h L's V-8 engine is intended to boost performance more than enhance frugality at the fuel pump. All-wheel drive is standard for the 600h L, but optional with the 460 L.