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Audi A8 variant being considered to compete with Mercedes-Maybach S-Class: report

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(Read caption) A worker fixes a car emblem as she assembles Audi A8 models at their plant in Neckarsulm near Heilbronn in Germany.

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Audi might be looking to build a higher-end variant of its next A8 to square off against the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, if a new report proves accurate. 

Auto Express spoke with Audi technical chief Stefan Knirsch about how the next-generation A8 could evolve, and the executive suggested that a longer-wheelbase variant could become a reality. Such a model would likely be designed with Chinese tastes in mind, since Audi does well in that Asian market. Additionally, Middle Eastern buyers tend to favor longer cars and Audi is looking to grow in that market.

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“The success of the extra-long version of the S-Class has got us wondering about whether there could be a business case for that in the future," he told the British publication.

Mercedes recently revived, for the second time, the Maybach label, this time not as a brand itself but as a range-topping model based on the company's current S-Class. The Maybach no longer features unique styling, instead serving as a thoroughly luxo-laden variant of the S-Class. 

Audi has already created an A8 with an extra long-wheelbase, but the automaker has said that one-off was made specifically for the King of Norway and doesn't indicate any plans for a regular production variant. 

The current A8, which is growing a little long in the tooth up against the more recently redesigned BMW 7-Series and S-Class, is set for a full redesign soon.