Audi admits to new transmission software emissions cheating

We recently learned that Audi had been caught, by the US EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board), with transmission software that somewhat cheated EPA testing. Apparently, the automatic transmissions used in most Audi models, the ubiquitous ZF-sourced eight-speed auto, had been programmed to use a lower shifting algorithm during testing so as to produce less carbon dioxides. However, once the steering wheel turned 15 degrees or more, which would happen almost immediately on the road, the algorithm switches back to performance driving.

Until know, both Volkswagen and Audi had been mum on the rumors, without comments from either company. However, now both VW and Audi are admitting to it and that they’ve both been working with the EU authorities as well as the US EPA. Apparently, Volkswagen and Audi both feel that the transmission software, while it does indeed change for emissions testing, doesn’t actually violate and EU regulations. While the cars do emit more Co2 during regular driving then during testing, it’s still not enough to violate andy laws, according to VW.

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ZF Eight-Speed Automatic Shift Lever in the new Audi A4

However, the US EPA still hasn’t confirmed that yet and both companies are still under investigation. If US authorities claim that VW and Audi violated emissions regulations, that will be another can of worms that both brands will have to deal with.

Both companies just went through the massive diesel scandal that shocked the world last year, where similar software was fitted to diesel engines to cheat emissions testing. Since then, VW has had to pay ¬†billions of dollars in fines and spend billions more buying back all of the violating cars. This new possible scandal involves any engine that was equipped with the eight-speed transmission, so it’s far more reaching than the diesel scandal.

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[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.