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The lion’s den
The interior of these cars is, perhaps, one of the more crucial aspects that buyers of this segment scrutinise in minute detail. So, let’s get into some number crunching to find out which one of these offer the best room. The Audi, at 5,267 mm, is the longest when it comes to overall length, which is 41 mm longer that Mercedes and 55 mm more than the Beemer. When it comes to the wheelbase, the BMW has an edge over the others and the Mercedes emerges as the tallest of the three. The long-wheelbase version in all the three cars has noticeably bigger rear doors, making getting in or out relatively easy. The interior space is well carved out and there is no dearth of headroom even if you don a massive turban. Or any other kind of room, for that matter.

Just by looking at the three gear lever one can imagine how vastly different are the design philosophies that define each of the three cars. The BMW has a sporty joystick-style selector, while the Benz has a petite steering shift and the Audi has reshaped the gear lever that now resembles a yacht throttle lever which acts like a rest for the driver’s wrist, making it convenient to reach the control array. The new A8 cabin moves up a style notch and is more contemporary than the competition. The gunwale that sweeps around the dash and into the doors resembles that of an upmarket yacht. The rest of the dash sits elegantly a couple of inches below, making the interior more roomy. The build and choice of material are impeccable. You can adjust the supportive leather seats to about any personal dimension thanks to the 22-way-adjustable seats, a good thing specially for the Bears I mentioned earlier. Moreover, the driver seat of the Audi is more relaxing than the BMW’s and Mercedes’ as the Audi’s driving throne also has massaging functions. Overall, this cabin offers more creature comfort and is more appealing than that of the 7-series, which has been improved, but, like the exterior, is quite understated. The leather, wood trim and other material are on par.

The interior of the Mercedes is a good mix of vintage styling and modern equipment, with a simple design of the saddle-tan interior, folding centre armrest with wood trim and COMAND function all add up to automotive good taste. The A8, on the other hand, with its new MMI Touch control system, sliding Bang & Olufsen speakers and information screen has an interior cheerier than that of the S-class.

Operating the power seats in such high-end cars often gets complicated. It involves intensive technology that makes sure you have no idea how to slide the seat forward, let alone turn off the massage function. Audi have simplified things by leaving the seat adjust functions on the side of the front seats as in regular cars. Just follow the pop-up menu of the infotainment screen and you know exactly what you are adjusting. The touch makes the MMI easier to operate than BMW’s iDrive or Mercedes S-Class’ COMAND set-up.


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