German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports that tests carried out by the Joint Research Center, an agency of the European Commission, showed the A3 in question emitted 163 milligrams of NOx per kilometer driven, when the engine was started at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s more than double the 80 mg limit.
From a cold start, the engine produced NOx emissions of 140 mg/km, still well above the limit.
Technical expert Axel Friedrich told SZ: "If a vehicle has significantly higher values during the warming test in the European test cycle than in the cold test, then the strong suspicion is that a defeat Device [is being used] because this is not technically explainable. "
The A3 tested was a facelift model that is certified as compliant with the latest Euro 6 emissions standards. That certification was given by Germany’s motor vehicle authority, the Kraftfahrtsbunesamt (KBA).
However, SZ alleges that the KBA never tested the A3 2.0 TDI, instead passing it on the basis of tests carried out on other Audi models fitted with the same engine.
Within the European Union, individual member states are responsible for certifying cars built within their borders, but that certification then applies across the bloc.
The EU is currently suing a number of members, including Germany, over their failure to impose fines on Audi parent company Volkswagen Group following the dieselgate scandal.
Though it admitted to using emissions cheating defeat devices in certain U.S. market cars, VW has never conceded the point in Europe. And yet it has issued a large-scale recall for models fitted with the same engine as those U.S. cars.
Audi has refuted the new allegations. A statement from the company said: “We do not have any information on the tests – neither on the measurements nor on what engine was installed in the A3 TDI mentioned. Therefore, please respect that we cannot comment on the report.
“However, it should be noted that different measurements from other testing institutes prove that the A3 TDI is within the legal limits of EU6.”