Extra-long Audi A8 L Horch revives historic name for ultra-luxe sedan

It was back in May 2019 when Audi announced plans to introduce an “especially luxurious and prestigious derivative” of the A8, following rumors about Ingolstadt’s plans of reviving the “Horch” moniker. One of the earliest German luxury car brands, Horch went on to merge with DKW, Wanderer, and Audi to form Auto Union in 1932, followed by Auto Union GmbH in 1949. The latter merged with NSU in 1969 to create Audi NSU Auto Union AG before becoming Audi AG in 1985.

The Audi A8 L Horch is currently a China-only affair so it will be interesting to see whether there are plans to sell the Maybach S-Class-rivaling stretched sedan outside of the People’s Republic. Compared to the already stately A8L, the wheelbase has been stretched furthermore by 5.1 inches for even greater legroom for passengers relaxing in the back.

You can easily differentiate the Horch from the regular A8L by looking at the sheer size of the rear doors, making the luxury sedan even more imposing than before. The new Horch version also provides us with a first taste in regards to the facelifted A8, which is getting updated headlights and taillights to mirror Audi’s most recent products.

The Horch-spec A8L rides on a sweet set of monoblock-esque wheels and makes generous use of chrome to signal it sits at the top of the food chain. Look closer and you’ll notice a discreet logo adorning the C-pillar and wheel center caps, while the front fenders and trunk lid are adorned by an elegant “Horch” script. We’re not sure this green paint does the luxobarge justice as we would’ve picked something classier, such as black.

As with all stretched limos, the real magic is inside the cabin where the seats seem just as comfortable as those you can find in another luxurious fullsize sedan from the Volkswagen Group – the Bentley Flying Spur. The individual seats are separated by a full-length center console with a built-in tablet to adjust what is likely a multitude of seat controls.

From quilted leather upholstery to pillows and from real wood to aluminum trim, the Audi A8L Horch is certainly a nice place to be in. More “Horch” lettering can be found on the central armrest as well as embroidered into those fancy pillows. Extra goodies like the rear-seat entertainment system with dual tablets along with a dedicated place for glasses and a bottle round off the list of niceties.

With huge taxes in China for cars equipped with large-displacement combustion engines, it’s no wonder the A8L Horch is offered with a (relatively) small V6 gasoline unit equipped with 48V mild-hybrid tech. Should Audi decide to sell the car elsewhere, it would represent the perfect send-off for the company’s mighty W12 engine.

The official public debut is scheduled to take place at the Guangzhou Auto Show later this month, but keep in mind Audi USA has already ruled out bringing the A8L Horch.

Source: Audi China

Adrian Padeanu

Long-time fan of the fabled Four Rings.