Audi Planning Luxurious A8 to Rival Mercedes-Maybach, Resurrection of Horch Name: Report
Audi’s fourth-generation A8 sedan is the pinnacle of the brand’s opulence, so long as you’re willing to ignore every model that begins with the letter R and the forthcoming Q8. Starting at $83,800 before destination, the A8 isn’t cheap. But it does represent a relative bargain compared to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a model which has long been the poster child for automotive grandeur.
While the A8 is sumptuous affair, the S-Class pulls away the second Daimler tacks on the Maybach prefix and its corresponding price tag. Finding its competitive spirit, Audi is resurrecting the historic Horch name to rival Mercedes’ super-luxury flagship. Available within the next two to three years, the Horch A8 will feature additional creature comforts, palatial touches, and a much higher price tag than the car it’s based upon.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Horch name, don’t feel ashamed. The moniker hasn’t been attached to an automotive brand since 1932, and the man from which it stems, August Horch, has been dead since 1951. Horch, who began his automotive legacy as a production manager for Karl Benz in 1899, would ultimately set out on his own to set the framework for Audi.
A dispute with his former company, Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG, resulted in the formation of August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH. However, in 1910, the company was renamed Audi Automobilwerk to avoid any legal issues surrounding use of the name. Regardless, the Horch name was synonymous with extreme luxury prior to World War II — making it a fitting name for Audi to use.
According to Automotive News, the ultra-luxury variant will be limited to high-powered A8s only. While the model comes in a long-wheelbase version, Audi apparently isn’t interested in stretching the Horch. It’s an odd choice, considering Maybach focuses so much on rear passenger comfort. We’d be gobsmacked if Audi didn’t eventually provide at least a couple regional markets (China) with a long-wheelbase variant.
From Automotive News:
The special version will get equipment beyond the regular A8, including different wheels and likely a Horch logo on the flanks or C-pillar. The Horch trim level could be available on a twin-turbocharged W12 version of the A8, if such a model comes to market. The W12 version, while market-ready, is on hold.
Sources also noted that a V8-powered Audi would also be fit to wear the Horch badge, which would help keep costs down a bit. Pricing remains a mystery, however. The Mercedes-Maybach S560 4MATIC Sedan starts at $168,600, which is roughly $80,000 more than the base Mercedes-Benz S450.
Audi will likely try to undercut that premium by quite a bit, though nothing official has been said. Despite the A8’s heaping of standard kit, Audi will have to upsize its engine while adding bling and tech to reach Horch status. Expect an announcement from the automaker within the next year or two.
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