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Audi Forced to Climb the Luxury Ladder, All Thanks to Mercedes-Benz

2016 Audi A8 L Security

After pumping out a respectable range of luxury sedans, coupes and SUVs for years, Audi now finds itself scrambling to counter an onslaught of high-end boutique models from Mercedes-Benz.

The automaker is hinting that more versions of the range-topping A8 could be on the way, AutoExpress reports, including a long-wheelbase Maybach fighter.

In recent years, Mercedes stretched its S-Class six ways to Sunday, yielding ultra-lux models like the Mercedes-Maybach S600 and Pullman, as well as a full-size convertible. In contrast, Audi doesn’t have any half-block-long versions to offer — just its A8 and slightly stretched (by five or so inches) A8L.

That might have to change.

“We are thinking about it,” said Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Audi’s technical head, during a recent launch in Germany. “The success of the extra-long version of the S-Class has got us wondering about whether there could be a business case for that in the future.”

A full-size A8 coupe is another possibility for the brand, though a long-wheelbase version seems the most likely spin-off, at least initially. Audi already offers an armored “Security” version of the A8L.

During his speech, Knirsch revealed that the next A8 will feature a greater level of automation, allowing the driver to go hands-free on the highway for longer periods of time and at greater speeds. That might be great for individuals who drive their own A8, but not for chauffeurs of (future) stretched versions who should be busy chauffeuring, not texting their buddies.

The next-generation A8 arrives next year with upgraded technology and an available mild hybrid drivetrain. There’s now a good chance that new versions could join it.

[Image: Audi AG]

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