Audi will resurrect its legendary but long-defunct Horch name for a top-of-the-line version of the A8 sedan, company insiders say.
The most powerful version of the A8 will be available with Horch badging when the car is freshened in two or three years, the sources said.
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 W-12 version of the A8, if such a model comes to market. The W-12 version, while market-ready, is on hold.
"The Horch line would also work with a V-8," a source said.
A Horch line for the A8 mimics the Mercedes-Maybach S class, but the A8 likely won't be stretched. Audi does not plan to expand the name beyond the A8, but doesn't rule it out.
No distinct Horch vehicle is planned, a lesson learned from Daimler's experience with the Maybach 57 and 62 models. Sales of those models in the early 2000s were far below projections.
Horch was a successful luxury brand in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s and part of the Auto Union group that included Audi. Production of luxury cars largely ceased in 1940 in favor of military vehicles. The brand was briefly resurrected in East Germany after the war.
Audi has toyed with the Horch name in the past two decades, and gone as far as creating design mock-ups, but the projects were never seriously pursued for production.