By on November 1, 2021

Audi recently announced a new, super luxurious version of its largest sedan, and it’ll wear some branding not seen in a very long time. Wake up Horch, it’s 2022.

Horch was founded in 1904 as a luxury car manufacturer in Germany, by one August Horch. It manufactured only luxury cars and was the first to put eight-cylinder engines into mass production in 1923. The brand was independent only through 1932, at which time it merged with Audi, Wanderer, and DKW to form the Auto Union. Shortly thereafter, Horch became the vehicle of choice for Nazi forces in Germany. The company was effectively closed by the conclusion of WWII, as post-war Germans had no money for large eight-cylinder Horch automobiles.

There was a singular Fifties Horch model, the P240 of 1955 through 1958. The small sedan was produced by VEB Sachsenring, the East German manufacturer better known for the decidedly non-luxurious Trabant. Sachsenring became an auto manufacturer after WWII, located in Saxony right where Horch cars were produced. At the time the region was a part of Soviet-occupied Germany. Horch factories turned out the P240 until Horch and Audi were legally reconsolidated 1958. VEB Sachsenring became HQM Sachsenring and continued to produce the P240 for a few more years under its own brand.

Later as a dormant marque, the Horch name fell into the possession of Daimler-Benz. In 1964 Auto Union was purchased by Volkswagen AG, and since it was the only name available Audi returned as the company’s luxury offering. Horch remained separated from its Auto Union brethren until the middle of the Eighties when Daimler handed over rights to Audi. In return, Audi signed a waiver stating it would not call any of its race cars Silver Arrow.

Fast forward to the present day, and Audi has no competition for that most luxurious of Mercedes-Benz trims, Maybach. Audi plans to fix that with the introduction of the new 2022 A8 L Horch at the Guangzhou Auto Show on November 19th. As the grantor of the Horch name to Audi, I’m sure the irony is not lost on Mercedes here. The new high-lux A8 coincides with a 2022 facelift, and is applied only to the long-wheelbase A8 L. L adds five inches to the standard sedan’s wheelbase and expands rear passenger area, as it has done for many years. The Horch adds another five inches to the wheelbase, which is mirrored in overall length (213.5″).

Notable features of the Horch not found on the standard A8 L include (most importantly) prominent Horch badging on the body. A unique set of 20-inch wheels also wears the Horch logo and calls back to the “full” alloy look of the A8 W12 of two decades ago. All the new badging is set off by a unique grille design, standard LED lamps and OLED tail lamps, and a special shade of green reserved solely for the Horch.

Inside are the finest materials Audi has available, with more Horch badges scattered here and there, and diamond pattern perforation across the high-quality hides. Said seating comes with a standard eight-way massage at the front, and two luxurious thrones in the rear. Also standard is the most expensive Bang & Olufsen 3-D stereo system.

At this time the Horch is limited in its scope to the Chinese market, where long-wheelbase sedans are still seen as a status symbol. But China is a market that applies a heavy tax to any engines over three liters in displacement. Accordingly, Audi has restrained its engine offering: The Horch uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and adds a 48-volt mild hybrid system to the party for a total of 340 horsepower.

If all goes well for the Horch, Audi is open to an offering in the European market. While some sources indicate such a car outside China might offer a W12 engine, there is not presently an engine of 12 cylinders on offer in the A8; Audi ended its W12 production in 2017. Given the EU is consistently more unfriendly to displacement and carbon dioxides by the day, don’t hold your breath on the return of a W12. Meantime, enjoy some forbidden Germanic fruit.

[Images: Audi]

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52 Comments on “Audi Resurrects Historical Horch Nameplate, Creates New Luxurious Rare Ride...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    Interesting that they sell 5x as many A8s in China as they do in the US.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Germany seriously decided to normalize its Nazi passed. Horch wasn’t a member of the party but he held positions related to the Nazi government and effectively was in the same circuits. Party leadership loved him anyway. BTW, the fact that he wasn’t a member, spared him after the war. But he was in fear that he will be punished for relations with Nazis and for the treatment of prisoners in the labor camps who worked on his plants.

    Source: https://www.mdr.de/zeitreise/weitere-epochen/neuzeit/august-horch100.html

    And there we go again – Germany round 2 – nazi collaborator special.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @slavuta Sir, you seem to be the only one here concerned about Nazi Germany. Here’s what most Americans think about Germany: immigration to America brought us precision machinery, people involved in government, and beer. In 1870 Americans laughed at France. WWI? Kaiser Bill and some Hohenzollerns needed to be slapped around a bit. The rise of Hitler and WWII? Most of us have done things we’re not proud of. For your country, for about 900 years a bunch of inbred royals with white trash taste had 90% of all the money in the country. Then some guys who couldn’t dance, sing, play sports, or get laid took over. This never ends well, never. However, 100% of everyone owned 100% of everything, or nobody owned anything. In the end, it was all the same. This next part is about your bosses; go to the samovar and get more tea, I’ll wait. Under the 100% of everyone own 100% of everything some guys had enough sense to know it’s -10C with a meter of snow on the ground, we need some boots. They wheeled and dealed and got boots. Well, they didn’t get boots for everyone, just everyone that mattered. They all know each other and intermarried. Yeppers, a bunch of inbreds run your country and 90% of all of its wealth. They’re still the White Trash of Europe. The Germans made amends and moved on. With a brief historical interlude, you just traded one bunch of white trash thieves with another group of white trash thieves. Germans/Germany are welcome in polite society. Russians/Russia are not. I had ancestors that were officers in our revolutionary war and on both sides in our civil war. Does that make me Redneck Round 2? Two more things, because I’m really wound up. 1. New American citizens are supposed to learn some of our history and how our government should work and take a test before they are allowed to become American citizens. It’s glaringly obvious you haven’t. 2. I don’t know how early you guys start putting vodka in your tea but between the three or four of you writing as slavuta, learn American English and for St. Piotr’s sake, learn to proofread.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The worst thing about the German Big Three is how devoted they are to imitating each other.

    Audi is a brand that’s been associated with modern design and cool simplicity for decades. This tufted-pillow bullsh!t is a corruption of the brand. But because Chinese buyers might see Mercedes with tufted pillows as more prestigious, Audi imitates the Maybach strategy right down to the full-face wheels.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    I don’t really like the name “Horch”. Doesn’t hit me right. And do they have to splash it all around….sides, back, seats?

  • avatar
    Kyree

    One small quibble:

    That doesn’t look like the normal LWB A8. It looks like a LWB+…which is indeed similar to the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class (which is longer than the standard Mercedes-Benz LWB S-Class)

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right. I missed that distinction; corrected.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Interesting.. I didn’t know that the current Maybach was longer than even the longest S-Klasse!

      I’d love to know why they ditched the separate Maybach name, and went to “Mercedes-Maybach.” Probably to have fun watching non-German speakers completely twist their glottises into pretzels when trying to pronounce the name of the vehicle! (Or vehicles! Isn’t there some sort of SUV with the Maybach moniker? Maybe even a G-Series?)

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree

        There is a Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600; yes. It looks like something off Pimp My Ride, and not nearly as cohesive as its Bentley Bentayga or Rolls-Royce Cullinan competitors (although even they aren’t exactly what I would call “beautiful”).

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Saw that too but assumed it was just an illusion created by effective marketing. Those are some loooooong rear doors.

  • avatar
    houttbe

    “Horch” means “listen!” in German. “Audi” means “listen!” in Latin…

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Mercedes should offer to buy Jaguar if only to get back control of the Daimler brand. Alternatively JLR should just use it!

  • avatar

    For me Horch associates with Nazi leaders. Horchs were brought to Russia as a war trophies. I did not see them but older generation were talking about Horchs, Willis, Studebakers and so on since western tech impressed them. When you say Horch I see 1930s style big automobile with swastika and Nazis inside seen by me in old Soviet movies. I don’t know why Germans do not want to leave their troubled past behind.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Western tech depresses me too.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      youtube.com/watch?v=fIO0DesXpdo&t=60s

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ILO Good products will always outlast bad governments. Ural motorcycles made in a stolen BMW motorcycle plant – good. Made in Germany bad because, well Nazis?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes. Nazis were very unpleasant human beings.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          For elscotto to understand this, somebody needs to shoot his pregnant wife because untermensch are not allowed to have children if they are not from German officer. Or may be throw his young children down the shaft of a mine because they only eat but not produce. Then he will understand.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Little too far there, slavuta.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            What, the Horch nameplate comes back and all the sudden it’s Kristallnacht?

            Take your meds, comrade. And while you’re at it, brush up on the glorious human rights history of Mother Russia. They were every f**king bit as bad as the Germans…and I’m talking before AND during communism. And they’re not exactly a shining beacon of freedom now, either.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            FreedMike,

            You are hitting milk here.
            You should read, watch – “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers”. May be you will get your wet dreams of joining.

            Sure, Russians did some bad things. Americans did not? Should I remind you how many children Joe Biden killed in the latest airstrike? But never Russia had an official policy of exterminating certain peoples and enslaving others. Quite opposite – Russian Federation even today is a conglomerate of 100+ ethnic groups. And they live there without a fuss. You don’t need TLM there – Tatar Lives Matter or anything like that.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Troll attempt declined.

            We need some moderators around here, or we need an “ignore” button. Fools like this are really stinking the joint up.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            FreedMike

            I was talking about a car company, its practices and historical associations. You started the BS. So come to the mirror, find the button you’re looking for and press it.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, you were talking about me – a Jew – signing up to fight for the Nazis. Why? Because I disagreed with you. Nothing provocative there.

            Ain’t the first time you’ve said something stupid to be provocative, either – not too long ago you were talking about eating your neighbors for dinner because they voted for a guy you don’t like.

            And now you don’t even have the stones to own up to the stupid crap you say. Laughable.

            Buzz off.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            28-Cars-Later

            Person simply does not understand how it was. Unimaginable horror and suffering, enabled by all these car companies, all these Porsches, Horches. And now these names are the car badges, while some people, who where in life – doctors, teachers, professors and just factory employees or barbers, don’t even have a grave to show for.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            What about the Japanese companies? Toyota made trucks, Subaru/Nakajima made bombers. Mitsubishi? Soichiro Honda made piston rings for the war effort.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_war_crimes

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Almost forgot about Volvo. The Vikings. Never forget the Lindisfarne raid.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            mcs,

            you’re right. Japanese, Volvo. Axis powers.

            France, Austria, Germany, Romania, Hungary, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Italy, Croats, Czechia – Axis fighting force

            Bulgaria, Spain – fighting force that did not fight in Russia outside of 100 Spanish volunteers

            Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark – financial, industrial support
            Turkey, Iran – wanna-bees but not allowed.

            Japan attacked the US. They committed horrendous crimes in China. But I don’t remember one Japanese car manufacturer, member of SS/Nazi, decorated with Iron Cross, guilty in organizing slave labor (like Porsche) and have his name on the car badge. If you know – tell me.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            FreedMike

            “No, you were talking about me – a Jew – signing up to fight for the Nazis.” – yes, I said this because you seemingly defending all this crap that is going on in Germany now. They are on the path to repeat. “The Nazi years ‘no longer affect’ German identity,” – this is a common thing in Germany now.
            By definition Germany should pull all these names into the basement and under the rug. But no, they are now normalizing these Nazi collaborators.

            What are you defending?

            “Ain’t the first time you’ve said something stupid to be provocative, either – not too long ago you were talking about eating your neighbors for dinner because they voted for a guy you don’t like.”

            Have you heard of famines? I know that in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, people ate other people. And you never know when you, yes you will become a cannibal. Never say never.

            “And now you don’t even have the stones to own up to the stupid crap you say. Laughable.” – ^^ didn’t my stones just hit you? You can laugh all day long. I say real things. Things that happen to people, not imaginary wishful things most people have in mind.

            May be you should go and read about Slavuta before throwing a J-word

            Wiki

            “Slavuta has a rich Jewish history. The town had a prominent Jewish community since near its establishment in the 1600s. Town records show 246 Jewish families in 1765. The peak of the Jewish population of Slavuta is over 5100 in 1939, about 1/3 of the town’s population. In the late 1890s the Jewish population of Slavuta was near 60% at 4900 people. The Jewish community consisted of farmers, traders, storekeepers, and rabbinical teachers. Slavuta at one point had nearly 200 Jewish owned shops, largely due to Slavuta being established as a prominent trading town and Jewish center. Slavuta also had three established synagogues.

            A complete Talmud, known as The Slavita Shas was published in 1817 by Rabbi Moshe Shapira, “Av Bais Din and printer of Slavita.”

            This is where I grew up and I know a thing or 2 of reality when it comes to Jewishness. Don’t J-word me.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    The wheelbase looks too long to easily navigate a lot of Tim Horton’s older drive-thrus without climbing the concrete sleeping logs. And when you need an extra-large double-double and a Tims gourmet chili in a hurry, where’s the luxury in that if you get stuck?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Make it shorter, and taller, with a cramped back seat, and you will sell more.

    Keep the grille – maybe slightly larger?

    (This advice brought to you by every vehicle ‘designer’ in 2021)

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “don’t hold your breath on the return of a W12”

    Audi is working furiously on a new W4. (Quad-turbo?)

  • avatar
    Socrates77

    This should’ve been the first electric full size luxury car, Audi just missed the boat.

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