Just as you'd suspect, it takes big bucks to buy the biggest sedans in the country, with the extended-wheelbase version of the Rolls-Royce Phantom—a 20-foot leviathan—requiring some $500K as a bare starting point. With that in mind, we’ve narrowed the field to feature cars only from the more popular brands, although most are still pretty pricey. The only two truly mainstream choices are from those bastions of the American full-size Sedan, Chevy and Ford. All, however, stretch over 200 inches, providing significant cabin space and much in the way of high-tech content, as well as room for all kinds of junk in the trunk. It’s also worth noting that these modern-day land yachts can be more fuel-efficient than you may think, thanks to EPA grades that exceed 30 mpg in certain cases.
Cue up the Maybach music: After being revived once as a stand-alone, ultra-lux brand in the late 1990s, the “Maybach” moniker now designates the range-topping entry on the Mercedes-Benz roster, the 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600. As its name indicates, the car builds on the fine foundation offered by the current Mercedes S Class, but with an extra 8.1 inches between the bumpers and a similar increase in wheelbase. Thus, the biggest of our biggest sedans has an overall length of 214.7 inches, and the majority of the growth is in the rear of the cabin. There, two passengers can kick back and relax in their own individual “executive” seats, enjoying available Maybach luxuries that run from chrome-plated tweeter grilles for the Burmeister audio system to handcrafted champagne flutes and a bottle-friendly rear refrigerator box. The Maybach’s motivation also is impressive, since it comes from a bi-turbo V12 capable of 523 horsepower.
Audi A8 L
After the 2015 model was significantly refreshed with a new engine choice, redesigned LED lighting and subtle style refinements, the four-rings brand mostly leaves well-enough alone for the 2016 Audi A8 L. Which shouldn’t affect shoppers for the biggest sedans, since the car already furnished quite a few advantages in the segment, such as a standard 3.0-liter, 333-horsepower six-cylinder engine that’s both supercharged and turbocharged. As a result, owners benefit from both brisk acceleration—backed by a 5.5-second 0-60 time—and EPA grades of up to 29 mpg highway. That’s right in line with the A8’s positioning as the “driver’s luxury sedan,” yet the extended wheelbase provided by the “L” configuration also means a particularly spacious rear-seat environment as part of an overall length of 207.4 inches. Additionally, for a bigger bang, the A8 L can be ordered with a mammoth W12 that’s good for 500 horsepower and 463 lb.-ft. of torque.
Jaguar XJ L
The big cat of the biggest sedans, the 2016 Jaguar XJ L, sharpens its claws for the new selling season with an extensive, tech-based round of upgrades. They come at a good time, too, since demand for cutting-edge infotainment features is especially high in the premium-sedan segments. So, to meet that interest, the 2016 XJ lineup launches features like the InControl Touch Pro system, boasting mobile Wi-Fi capability, sophisticated navigation functionality, an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, and “seamless iOS and Android connectivity.” Moreover, because the long-wheelbase XJ L caters specifically to rear-seat occupants, there’s also a new entertainment center just for those folks, highlighted by dual 10.2-inch screens that offer the movie-lovers' preferred 16:9 aspect ratio. Key style enhancements to the vehicle’s 206.9-inch footprint include redesigned full-LED headlamps, newly complemented by Jaguar’s “J-Blade” LED daytime running lights for a distinctive front lighting signature.
BMW 7 Series
The brand-new 2016 BMW 7 Series isn’t just one of the nation’s biggest sedans—with a length of 206.2 inches—it’s also one of the most technologically advanced. Consider: It’s the first production car to offer gesture control for infotainment functions. To be clear, this goes well beyond typical pinching and swiping commands; BMW’s setup relies on 3D sensors so that drivers don’t even have to touch the screen. Of course, as you might expect from this class of vehicle, the 7 Series serves up a cornucopia of creature comforts for the back-seat passengers, including heated and ventilated chairs, massage functionality, and “active training” programs that leverage those massage functions so occupants can “revitalize the body on longer journeys.” For an active mind, BMW further furnishes an individual Touch Command Tablet that can be used with the car’s wi-fi hotspot to access the Internet—and to manage certain vehicle systems.
Cadillac already proved it could develop world-class luxury cars for the compact and midsize segments—see the current ATS and CTS—and now the brand has brought that experience to bear on the full-size ranks, revealing the 2016 Cadillac CT6 to compete against the biggest sedans from the premium German automakers. Built in a rear-wheel-drive configuration, the CT6 is an imposing 204 inches worth of crisp sheet metal, world-class luxury and leading-edge technologies, yet engineers have deployed the latest lightweighting strategies to enable nimble driving dynamics. Further helping in that regard: an available 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine that touts 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. Needless to say, the car also showcases the sort of luxurious living environment that’s better suited to a small mansion, and it likewise offers a video-based “home security” system, with a 360-degree video-recording setup that automatically turns on if an intruder is detected.
The 2016 Porsche Panamera looks more than a little like an elongated version of the 911, as designers both honored the icon and looked to present customers with a familiar face. But people may not realize exactly how much stretching occurred, and the long-wheelbase Executive models—which measure 203.35 inches in length—are more than two feet longer than the compact 911. And that makes the Panamera’s numbers even more eye-popping, because while it is indeed one of the biggest sedans on the market, the Turbo Executive model is all business in terms of performance, right down to a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 engine that puts down 520 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. With that output, the Panamera pushes 190 mph on the track and can deliver a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds. At the same time, there’s enough room in the Panamera for Porsche’s new high-tech rear-seat entertainment system, too.
There’s no extended-wheelbase model for the 2016 Hyundai Equus. The brand’s current flagship is one of the country’s biggest sedans right out of the dock, spanning 203.1 inches from stem to stern in all trim levels. For the 2016 model year specifically, the Equus adds an increasingly popular new technology in its hands-free power-opening trunk, but with a bit of a twist as compared to foot-operated units found on some rivals; the Hyundai system relies solely on the proximity of the car’s multi-function key fob. The Equus also does supply many of the same luxuries found in more traditional choices from the segment, along with a very non-traditional approach to the sales process. Under the auspices of the “Your Time, Your Place” test-drive program, a Hyundai expert will bring the Equus directly to a prospective owner’s location for a personalized test-drive experience.
Once upon a time in the 1970s, the biggest sedans included gargantuan grocery-getters like the Ford LTD, a car that covered more than 224 inches of pavement. Today, the 2016 Ford Taurus toes the line as the Blue Oval’s longest car, though it’s about 21 inches shorter than its family-sedan forebear. That still leaves the Taurus as the longest mainstream sedan, albeit one with some fairly premium features. For example, the 2016 Taurus debuts the next-gen SYNC3 in-car connectivity system, and it’s faster and easier-to-use than previous versions, furnishes improved voice-recognition capability, and better integrates the Ford AppLink technology to enable enhanced control over smartphone apps. The Taurus also expands availability for its standard rearview camera to all models, bolstering a safety package that has earned a 5-star Overall Safety Score from NHTSA. Being a Ford product, the Taurus delivers a pair of EcoBoost powertrains as well.
As readers could likely guess by now, that “L” means we’re moved on to another long-wheelbase model of a pre-existing nameplate. This time it’s the 2016 Infiniti Q70L that clocks in at a highly aerodynamic 202 inches in length. Frankly, Infiniti carries over the Q70L unchanged from last year, when it was first introduced, yet it does have its share of distinguishing characteristics compared to the rest of the biggest sedans under discussion here. For instance, it’s available with rear- and all-wheel-drive V6 and V8 powertrains, with the former able to unleash 330 horsepower and the latter topping out at 416, and Infiniti serves up a wide range of driver-assistance measures for the car. Among them: blind-spot intervention and warning technology, lane-departure warning and prevention systems, and a 360-degree “Around View” monitor.
In searching for the biggest sedans of the current model year, a car like the 2016 Chevrolet Impala is bound to spring to mind. No, it isn’t quite as hefty as it was in the heydey of super-sized family sedans, when some Impalas surpassed 222 inches, but the latest version gives away in length it more than makes up for in technology. Plus, it is 201.3 inches long, so it’s one of just two mainstreamers left that are over the 200-inch mark. And about that technology: While mobile Wi-Fi is de rigueur for most of the previously mentioned ultra-premium models, it’s far from common for the common folk, making its presence on the Impala well worth mentioning. The same also can be said for Chevy’s rollout of Apple CarPlay smartphone integration for the 2016 Impala, which is scheduled to add Android Auto compatibility in March of 2016.