The Audi A8 L Horch is a luxurious, China-exclusive Maybach fighter


The A8 L Horch is loooooong.


Audi

Horch was a German purveyor of high-end cars in the early 20th century, and it went on to be one of the four companies that merged together to create the Auto Union brand (along with Audi, DKW and Wanderer). Audi is now reviving the Horch name for high-end models that will directly compete with Mercedes’ Maybach offerings, with a similar formula of adding longer wheelbases, special styling details and fancier interior appointments. The first model under this new branding is the A8 L Horch, which was designed and developed specifically for China.

The A8 L Horch’s wheelbase is stretched by 5.1 inches compared to the regular A8 L, making it just an inch shorter than the new Maybach S-Class. But the Horch’s stretch is all in the rear doors, unlike the Maybach that gains a whole extra pillar and piece of glass. In addition to the longer doors, the Horch is visually differentiated from normal A8s with awesome monoblock-style wheels, lots more chrome trim, a subtle C-pillar badge and the very cool Horch script on the front fenders and trunk.

These wheels absolutely rule.


Audi

The Horch turns the luxury up a notch on the inside with a pair of rear seats bisected by a long center console that houses a fridge, cupholders and special glasses, and an armrest with a touchscreen and a set of controls for the adjustable seats. The seats and door panels feature unique diamond quilting, there’s an abundance of real wood and aluminum trim, and each rear passenger gets a screen on the seat back in front of them. Other unique touches include a pair of pillows for the rear seats and the Horch script embossed in the armrest.

At launch the only powertrain will be Audi’s 335-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine that has a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. China also gets a six-cylinder version of the Maybach S-Class that isn’t sold anywhere else, so this powertrain is nicely matched against the Mercedes. But in the future don’t be surprised to see the A8 L’s engine list expand to include Audi’s V8, V12 and plug-in-hybrid offerings.

Who wouldn’t want to sit back here?


Audi

This is also our first look at the facelift for the A8, which should be officially unveiled in the coming months. The headlights are more angular to match other models like the Q8, the front grille is even bigger and the lower air intakes have a more complex design. Audi also tweaked the taillights and lower rear bumper. It doesn’t seem like there are many changes to the interior, though the shifter design is new.

The A8 L Horch will make its full debut next month at the Guangzhou Auto Show, at which point we should learn more about the new model. While there’s a chance the Horch will be sold in Europe, an Audi spokesperson told Roadshow that it “will not be marketed, sold, or supported in the US.” The A8 is nearly six times more popular in China than in the US, with over 14,000 of the luxury sedan sold in 2020, so that’s not really a surprise. It’s a shame, though, as this new Horch looks awesome.



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