Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
4 minute read
2 Nov 2021
12:52 pm

Audi gives S-Class and 7 Series rivalling A8 an improved suit

Charl Bosch

Ingolstadt's flagship sedan receives a myriad of small changes, including a new ultra-luxurious China only model reviving the Horch name.

Changes to the A8 not to difficult to spot.

Unveiled in South Africa earlier this year, albeit only in S8 guise, Audi has taken the wraps off of the facelift A8 ahead of its global market debut next month.

Arriving four years after its world’s premiere, the current D5 A8’s exterior tweaks comprise a wider chrome Singleframe grille, a new front bumper with vertical side air intakes, redesigned Matrix LED headlights still with OLED technology and new alloy wheel designs ranging from 18 to 21-inches.

Aside from a new rear bumper with an integrated faux diffuser insert, plus slightly tweaks LED lights also with OLED tech the bigger exterior addition, for the first time since the A8 replaced the V8 in 1994, is the S line exterior package.

Audi A8 facelift
A8 will again be offered in long wheelbase A8L guise.

This means the inclusion of sportier bumpers and wider door sills, more chrome accents and S alloy wheels. Rounding the exterior off is a choice of eleven colours made-up of four new metallic hues; Manhattan Grey, Ultra Blue, District Green and Firmament Blue Metallic, and five matte finishes; Florett Silver, Daytona Grey, Glacier White, Terra Grey and District Green.

As before, the A8’s dimensions remain unchanged with the standard model measuring 5 172 mm in overall length, while its wheelbase comes to 2 998 mm, height to 1 473 mm and width to 1 945 mm.

The long wheelbase A8L also continues as is with its length rated at 5 302 mm, wheelbase at 3 128 mm and height at 1 488 mm with width unchanged from the standard A8.

Audi A8 facelift
The Chinese market only A8L Horch Founders Edition revives the Horch name last used in 1932.

In a confirmation of a rumour that emerged back in 2018 though, the A8 also revives the Horch name last used in 1932.

The fourth marque that formed the then Auto Union, the others being DKW, Audi and Wanderer, the Horch Founders Edition will only be offered in China and though based on the A8L, boasts an even longer overall length at 5.45 m.

It also receives model bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels, a revised grille, Horch badges on the bootlid and front wings, and a Horch logo on the C-pillar.

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Its body still made out of aluminium like all previous generation A8s, although with the addition of carbon fibre, magnesium and high strength lightweight steel, the A8’s interior revisions comprise over-the-air updates and Audi’s new Hey Audi voice activation system for the 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system.

Now standard is the Heads-Up Display, with other touches being a new Cognac Brown Valcona leather option and Dinamica micro-fibres on the doors, roof pillars and headliner.

Reserved for the A8L are reclining rear seats with a rear footrest that boasts heating and massaging functions, pneumatic seats cushions, quad-zone climate control and a centre console between the seats that features a fold-out table.

Audi A8 facelift
A8 interior.

As before, a rear seat entertainment system can be specified, made up of two 10.1-inch displays as well as an OLED touch control module.

On the Horch edition, special badging adorns the pillows on the rear seats and headrests, with diamond-quilted leather starring on the doors, along with thicker than normal cushioning for the seats.

With the standard fitting of adaptive air suspension all models, a predictive setup being offered only on the S8, the A8’s range of safety and driver assistance has now been grouped-up in three packages; Park, Tour and City.

Audi A8 facelift
In the A8L, the rear seats can recline with the footrest being heated and additionally equipped with a massaging function.

Up front, a choice of four engines are offered; a 250kW/500Nm 3.0 TFSI V6 in the 55 badged model and a 210kW/600Nm 3.0 TDI in the A8 and A8L 50 TDI. Both are once again paired to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system with the Horch offering the former as the sole option.

For now the only plug-in hybrid model, the 60 TFSI, pairs the mentioned V6 petrol engine with a 14.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Sporting four driving modes; the default Hybrid, Hold that conserves energy, EV and Charge that relies on the engine to charge the battery, the entire setup produces 340kW/700Nm with Audi claiming an all-electric range of 50 km and 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.

Audi A8 facelift
Rear seats of the A8L Horch Founders Edition

At the top of the range, the S8 pairs the mild-hybrid system with the familiar 4.0 TFSI V8 for a power output of 420 kW and torque of 800 Nm. Like the rest of the A8 range, the S8’s power is delivered to all four wheels via an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox.

Not included in the line-up anymore though is the long wheelbase only W12 that made use of a normally aspirated 6.3-litre W12 and the 60 TDI whose 4.0-litre-oil-burner remains in the SQ7 and SQ8.

In Germany, pricing kicks-off at €99 500 (R1 781 949) with the S8 retailing from €144 800 (R2 593 228). The latter is once again expected to be the sole model offered in South Africa, but an announcement has so far not been made.