The Audi V8 L Was Not Fucking Around

Go to any luxury manufacturer and you’ll find, right beside the top-tier luxury sedan, an even better one. The long wheelbase version of that top-tier luxury sedan. The current crop of LWB luxobarges is good. But the original Audi V8 L was better.

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The key distinction is simple: Modern LWB versions of what you get on the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S Class, uh, the Nissan Cima, and so on stretch the cars with added room ahead of the rear seats, pulling the rear wheels back and lengthening the doors with them. They do not look like stretch limos; they look like they are normal cars stretched in a taffy puller. The rear doors reach waaay back and make everything seem proportional.

The Audi V8 L was not like that. The Audi V8 L does have extra space ahead of the rear seats, but look at that rear door! It looks just as long as on the regular Audi V8 of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It looks like someone just tacked on an extra unit’s worth of car right onto the end of it. It does look like a stretch limo. It looks aftermarket.

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And indeed it was. Audi did not stretch the V8 L. The Austrian super contractor that is now Magna Steyr did the job. What was then Steyr-Daimler-Puch made these custom jobs, and only produced 271 of them, as noted by the old Dream Car Archive.

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The original Audi V8 is a wonderfully charming car, in part because it really felt like Audi reaching into modernity after its up-and-down 1980s and, well, overreaching. It was like the VW Phaeton of its time, a bit too ambitious. The way it was stretched has that look.

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Unsurprisingly, the same person is behind both cars: Ferdinand Piëch.

The specs of the car were the same as the regular Audi V8, meaning you got it with Audi’s 3.6-liter quad-cam V8 good for 247 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, as per the car’s brochure. That brochure is actually really wonderful, as is this German-language history of the thing on Welt, which details all of the optional extras, like a phone, a fax machine, and even a personal computer, some of which cost as much as a whole car at the time.

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Listed price at the end of 1988 was 163,000 marks, meaning the only sedans more expensive than it came from Rolls-Royce and Bentley. The V8 L was 17 feet long and weighed 3,900 pounds, per Audi.

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The only bummer is that you could get a regular Audi V8 with a five-speed to go with its standard Quattro all-wheel drive, but the V8 L brochure makes no mention of it.

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About the author

Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.