SPIED: Audi A8 'Horch'- LWB Mercedes-Maybach rival – paultan.org

A little over two years ago, Audi had been rumoured to be reviving the Horch brand for a range-topping model to sit above its current A8 flagship model. This would be the Ingolstadt-based automaker’s contender to the Z223 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, itself a luxury brand positioned above the W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship.

The development vehicle sighted here by our spy photographer source appears to be a long-wheelbase version of the facelifted D5 Audi A8, and this has been suggested to be the even more luxurious ‘Horch’ version due to some camouflage foil applied near the base of the rear door window, which is where Horch branding could be located.

The front end of the A8L development unit here wears a grid-like grille in place of the current version’s horizontal slats, though whether or not it is a design that will carry through to the eventual production car remains to be seen. Exterior updates for the facelifted D5 A8 as a whole are expected to apply to the grille surround and front bumper, front and rear quarter panels, sills and rear bumper, which have been concealed.

Being a top-of-the-line limousine, the ‘Horch’ A8L has been tipped to use the Volkswagen Group’s 6.0 litre W12 twin-turbo petrol engine, which is found in Bentleys such as the Flying Spur, Continental GT coupe and convertible as well as the Bentayga Speed.

Beyond the placeholder components for the development mule seen here, the even more luxurious A8 variant is expected to feature unique wheels and possibly a two-tone exterior paint finish as seen on Mercedes-Maybach models as well as personalised finishes offered by Bentley and Rolls-Royce. This top A8 version is expected to makes its debut in the second half of this year, according to our sources.

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