Audi has dusted off a name from its past for a new ultra-luxury model, though it’ll be exclusively for China.
The 2022 Audi A8 L Horch will become the flagship of the Chinese A8 range where it’s projected to account for a fifth of all A8 sales.
Audi says it will monitor if there’s demand for the model outside of China, but for now it has only committed to selling it in that market even though it’s produced in Neckarsulm, Germany alongside the rest of the A8 range.
The Chinese market is a critical one for the A8, with almost 60 per cent of all current-generation A8 models sold there.
Measuring 5.45m long, the A8 L Horch is 13cm longer than the regular A8 L and will be available exclusively with the 250kW turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 engine from the A8 55 TFSI.
Inside the more spacious cabin, there’s expanded diamond quilting, deep-pile floor mats, and a larger panoramic sunroof.
There are also cushions embossed with the Horch logo.
The relaxation seat option carries over from the A8 L. This consists of a footrest on the back of the passenger seat that can warm and massage your feet, as well as a back massage function with 18 pneumatic cushions.
An extended centre console is available, and can be specified with an optional fold-out table and a cooler. It also houses a screen to control, among other functions, the four-zone climate control.
There’s a unique grille with prominent vertical elements, while the exterior has additional chrome elements such as the mirror housings.
The Horch also rides on distinctive “H-crown” alloy wheels and offers a choice of two-tone exterior finishes, both of which bear more than a passing resemblance to the A8 L’s Mercedes-Maybach rival.
These two-tone options consist of Firmament Blue and Ultra Blue, Florette Silver and Mythos Black, and Mythos Black and Florette Silver.
The introduction of the A8 L Horch coincides with a facelift for the broader A8 range, which includes a restyled front end and digital OLED tail lights.
Horch – that’s a hard ‘k’ sound, like bruschetta – was one of four brands which merged in 1932 to form Auto Union. The other three were Audi, DKW and Wanderer.
The brand produced a range of eight- and 12-cylinder luxury cars until production was suspended due to World War II. The nameplate was briefly resurrected in the 1950s on an East German-built executive sedan, the six-cylinder P240.
The Horch isn’t the only Audi that’ll be exclusive to the Chinese market.
The upcoming Q5 e-tron, expected to be exclusive to China, was recently leaked, and is expected to ride on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric vehicle architecture.
That’s in contrast with the Q6 e-tron, a global model that’ll ride the Premium Platform Electric co-developed by Audi and Porsche.