The Audi A8 may have a leaner frame than some of its rivals, but it doesn't trade off much interior space or refinement in the name of performance. The opposite is true on long-wheelbase models, which are some of the most capable long-distance machines we've driven this year, thanks to highly adjustable and form-fitting seats, lots of leg room, and ultra-high driving range in the TDI turbodiesel.
With the standard A8 seats come plenty of adjustment-18 ways, in fact. The seats are firm to the core, but have a soft layer of padding on top for excellent long-distance and touring comfort. You may not need the extreme upgrade to 22-way adjustable seats with massaging control and ventilation. With tilt/telescoping steering, it's simple to find a great driving position.
Short-wheelbase versions just don't have the interior space to qualify for this executive mission. Riding on a 117.8-inch wheelbase, the shorter car has family-sedan rear-seat leg room at best. On long-wheelbase cars, the 122.9-inch stretch between wheels doesn't incur a handling or penalty performance, and it liberates about 5 inches more space in back.
Climb in back, and the long-wheelbase car has the space for lanky passengers we'd expect in this price class. The long doors make entry and exit painless; once inside, the back seats can be power-adjusted, reclined, heated, and they can be fitted with an extending footrest and a tray table for an airline-style business-class environment.
With a 13.2-cubic-foot trunk the A8 doesn't have as much luggage space as some very inexpensive family sedans. In-car storage is good, though, and the only noise that cuts into the cabin is that from the bigger tire sizes. It's easy to drown out with the B&O audio system.