Audi A8 gets design updates and an even more luxurious cabin

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Audi has given the A8, its flagship sedan, a round of updates that include a new-look design and more technology in the cabin. Confirming a longstanding rumor, it also resurrected the dormant Horch name on an even more luxurious version of the sedan designed for China.

Now in its fourth generation, the A8 receives a redesigned front end characterized by new lights, a reshaped grille that ditches the horizontal slats in favor of bright vertical inserts, and a sportier-looking bumper. Out back, the OLED lights gain a function that changes their signature depending on the driving mode selected, among other parameters. The quicker and more powerful S8 receives a similar nip-and-tuck.

Several new wheel designs, paint colors, and option packages round out the list of exterior changes. A8 buyers can notably select an S Line exterior package, which brings a more muscular-looking body kit, and they can order their sedan in one of five matte colors.

Most of the changes made to the interior are tech- or comfort-related. Audi has good news if you're the chauffeur-driven type: the long-wheelbase A8 L is offered with a relaxation seat that features a footrest integrated into the back of the front passenger's seat. It's designed to heat and massage the bottom of your feet. Additionally, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 10.1-inch screens is available.

A8 buyers in Europe will have several engine options to choose from, including a 3.0-liter TFSI V6, a 4.0-liter TFSI V8, and a turbodiesel. The only unit offered on the S8 is a version of the aforementioned eight that develops 563 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, figures are on par with the outgoing model's. An eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive come standard across the range.

Demand for ultra-luxurious sedans remains relatively high in China, so Audi brought back the Horch name on an even more upscale version of the A8. It stretches over 214 inches long from bumper to bumper, so it's about five inches longer than the long-wheelbase A8 L, and it stands out with a number of model-specific accents including a new grille, a Horch badge, and two-tone exterior paint options. Inside, passengers are treated to diamond-quilted upholstery and deep-pile floor mats, among other luxuries. Nothing suggests this version of the A8 — which is named after one of the brands that merged to form Audi and aimed at Maybach's S-Class — will be sold outside of China.

Pricing for the updated Audi A8 starts at €99,500 (about $115,400) in Germany, while the S8 carries a base price of €144,800 (approximately $167,900) in its home country; keep in mind the conversion rate is not necessarily indicative of American pricing. Deliveries are scheduled to start in December 2021 across the pond. Details about the American-spec model will be released closer to the sedan's on-sale date.

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