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Rear-Seat Amenities

2013 Audi A8L: Nvidia Graphics, Wi-Fi, LED Lights, And Google Earth
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The back seat of Audi's A8L is a very comfortable place to be. Our test vehicle came with the Executive Rear Seating Package, which equips your passengers with more bells and whistles than you get as the driver. Gone is the familiar bench seat you're used to seeing, replaced by bucket-style seats and plenty of adjustments. The seats are both heated and cooled, for starters. They also recline and even massage for maximum comfort.

Specifically, the right-rear position is the one you want if you're given the opportunity to ride in an A8L. Whoever occupies that seat can dictate how much legroom the front passenger gets using controls to move that chair up and back.

Augmenting the rear passenger experience is a pair of 10-inch LCDs. Audi goes over-the-top with its rear entertainment system. While we'd expect, at most, a DVD player, the A8L gets a second MMI unit, meaning back seat riders have access to an independent MMI and control dial that's identical to the driver's, except for a lack of handwriting recognition. The second MMI unit includes another Jacinto 5 SoC and GeForce-derived graphics processor.

Since the A8L is a natural limousine and executive transport, rear passengers can use their MMI to privately search their own points of interest, enter addresses, or access Audi connect features, just like the driver. They can also send directions to the front infotainment system, so the driver knows where to go. It's a little impersonal to give orders through the navigation system, but Audi's A8L allows it.

I tested the feature by driving a few friends around as they played with the back seat MMI system. By the end of our test, I wanted to boot the whole group out; they kept sending random directions to the front, changing our destination. Fortunately, Audi thought to combat this. The driver must confirm the directions before they're displayed on the main MMI system; a route you already have can't be overridden otherwise.

The only real complaint I received was that the cup holders in the back are a little small for Americans. They won't hold a Big Gulp, for example. But they're the perfect size for champagne flutes. The encouragement to celebrate in the back seat is bolstered by a built-in mini-fridge that's perfect for a bottle or two of your favorite bubbly. Of course, the refrigerator occupies the space dedicated to a pass-through for skis in most other sedans. It isn't missed; we don't expect the A8L to make very many ski trips. Oh, and don't try to store anything in the mini-fridge. It doesn't run when the engine is off, so it's only good for keeping cold drinks cold.

As if the refrigerator and dedicated rear-seat entertainment weren't lavish enough, there's also an integrated power inverter to drive laptops and other mobile devices while you're on the road.

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