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A8 L Horch to top revised range

AUDI’S NEXT TOP MODEL: Audi says the Horch was built in response to strong demand from its Chinese customers.

Longer wheelbase China-only limousine to headline Audi’s revised A8 and S8 range


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2 Nov 2021

AUDI has revealed its revised A8 limousine line-up with an all-new flagship model made specifically for the Chinese market.


Regular versions of the new A8  are expected to arrive in Australia in mid 2022 and will compete with the BMW 7 Series (from $204,400), Lexus LS (from $195,325), and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (from $240,700).


With 130mm added between the B and C pillars, the longer A8 L Horch measures 5450mm in length and boasts lashings of comfort-focussed technology aimed at providing added “prestige and status” to wealthy buyers, Audi says.


The roomier Horch features additional diamond-quilted leather upholstery throughout, logo embossing in the cushions and deep pile carpets that Audi says emphasise the feeling of exclusivity of the model it has been designing in secret since 2017. 


Outwardly, the Horch’s two-tone paint schemes and disc-like ‘H Crown’ wheels are complemented by a model-specific Singleframe grille with vertical bases that Audi says “indicate that it is a luxury model”. 


Additional chrome garnishes on the mirror scalps, C-pillar, and bumper covers join “specific light signatures” for the LED headlights and taillights, a larger panoramic roof, and Horch-specific rear ‘relaxation’ seat.


These reclining rear seats feature a massage function, heating, and ventilation not only for the seat itself, but also the electric-folding footrest that deploys from the rear of the front seats.


Audi said the Horch was developed in response to Chinese customers who wanted a distinctive luxury model that was readily identifiable over its A8 L derivative, and which offered greater levels of personalisation and innovative technologies important to the exacting owners, and would “exude authority”. 


The China-only stretch limousine is powered by a 250kW 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine badged as the 55 TFSI and offers Quattro all-wheel drive as standard.


Audi estimates the Horch will form up to 20 per cent of all A8 variants sold in China over the next two to three years.


“We have been very successful in anticipating the needs of A8 customers in the (Chinese) market, refining the design with great care and precision while ensuring our very high standard of comfort and driving experience is maintained,” said Audi head of global marketing, Christian Dietl. 


Audi describes the Horch is an “appropriate response” to the high demand of the Chinese market, where large sedans are seen as “prestigious”, and says the region accounts for more than 60 per cent of all A8 sales – of which there have been 86,000 in the latest generation and more than 570,000 since the first A8 debuted in 1994.


The Horch tops a revised A8 and S8 range, the styling of which Audi says “redresses the balance of sportiness and prestige” set out by the fourth-generation model it introduced in 2017. 


The 2022 A8 range is identified by a new grille design, remoulded bumper covers with lower chrome garnishing and more vertical outboard air inlets, updated headlights with a unique, segmented DRL element, and “1.3 million micro-mirror” digital Matrix LED headlights as standard.


A reprofiled rocker cover provides a sportier look to the profile of the A8 range, while the rear bumper and taillights receive a similar makeover to the front fascia, with Audi’s OLED customisable taillights connected by a horizontal LED strip across the boot lid.


Audi will offer its S line appearance package across the A8 and A8 L range for the first time, the sportier package joining S8 variants in providing a more athletic look, which in the case of the S8 is enhanced further by a black appearance package, unique grille, visible quad exhaust outlets, model-specific rear valance, and larger diameter alloy wheels (up to 21 inches). 


S8 variants also receive a three-spoke steering wheel and piano black interior trim as standard, with carbon-fibre details available optionally.


Upholstery and trim options increase in ‘L’ versions of Audi’s four-door limo with Valetta upholstery offered as standard across the A8 L line-up.


Cognac-coloured Valcona leather and Dynamica (faux suede) are available optionally, as is a sporty black hood lining – Audi’s Design selection providing an almost overwhelming level of choice for customers wanting to make their A8 their own. 


Audi says the relaxation seat in the A8 L is “the apex of the program” and offers numerous adjustment options that extend to the headrest, footrest, and the seat itself with its 18 enclosed pneumatic cushions. 


The rear of the A8 L is available as a four-seater with optional continuous centre console and fold-out workstation. Four-zone climate control with ioniser and perfume function is likewise available, as is a bar compartment with drinks cooler.


Eleven standard paint colours are available across the A8, A8 L, and S8 range – among them new metallic shades District Green, Firmament Blue, Manhattan Grey, and Ultra Blue – and five matte finishes – Daytona Grey, Florette Silver, District Green, Terra Grey, and Ultra While. 


Audi’s Exclusive Program also allows customers to select their own unique paint scheme assuming none of the above are to their liking, Audi A8 head of design Ashley Gleave simply stating that “a lot of customisation is possible”.


In addition to Level 2+ autonomous driving ability offered in the current range (and in markets where it is “legally possible”), the A8 range builds on the technology of the current range showcasing many new features before they appear elsewhere in the Audi line-up. 


The MMI infotainment array – comprising 10.1 and 8.6-inch displays – offers a new touch-response operating system with “natural voice operation” and is joined by the latest iteration of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instrument panel, optional head-up display, standard MMI Navigation Plus and Audi Connect functionality.  


The rear seats also include 10.1-inch displays, set in the back of the front seats, and an incredible 23-speaker/1920-watt Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System controlled via a rear-seat remote.


Audi’s latest A8 is also available with “about 40 driver assistance systems” and a range of new features clustered into self-explanatory assistance packages dubbed Park, City, and Tour, the highlight of which is Audi’s own remote self-parking feature.


Depending on the market in which it is sold, the Audi A8 range is available with mild-hybrid technology engines including a 156kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel in the 50 TDI quattro (0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds), 250kW/500Nm 3.0-litre V6 petrol in 55 TFSI quattro (0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds), a China-only 210kW variant of the same engine, and a 338kW/660Nm V8-powered 60 TFSI (0-100km in 4.4 seconds) with cylinder on demand technology.


The S8 TFSI quattro is powered by a biturbo 420kW/800Nm V8, which drops the 0-100km/h sprint down to 3.8 seconds, while the A8 60 TFSI e quattro adds plug-in hybrid adaptability thanks to a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery and 340kW/700Nm total system power and a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds.


Carbon ceramic brakes are optional.


The full Australian A8 range, specifications, and pricing will be announced closer to the model’s launch.

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