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 |  Jun 13 2010, 8:53 PM

The latest vehicles to earn membership into the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) 2010 Top Safety Pick Award club are Volkswagen, Audi and Hyundai.

Earning the highest rating possible from the non-profit research organization are the 2010 Audi A4 and Q5, Hyundai Tucson, Lincoln MKT, and Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen. Also making the list are the 2010 Ford Flex and Fusion.

Vehicles that are recognized with this award perform best when it comes to protecting passengers in the IIHS’s front, side, and rear crash test evaluations, as well as roof-strength test evaluations. These vehicles must also come standard with electronic stability control.

Says Mark Barnes, COO, Volkswagen Group of America, about their win: “From the initial vehicle designs in Germany, all the way to the production plants, Volkswagen upholds safety to the highest level of importance. To have such a distinguished group as the IIHS recognize the 2010 Jetta SportWagen with the Top Safety Pick award is a realization of the care, safety, and precision we strive for with every Volkswagen we build.”

In order to earn membership into this exclusive club, vehicles must earn “Good” (the IIHS’s highest rating in testing) for roof strength in rollover crashes. To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle’s roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle’s weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes. Good rated vehicles have roofs that can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle’s weight. For comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight.

[Source: IIHS, Volkswagen]

Audi Dropping 3.2-Liter V6 From A4 Lineup in 2010

TT and A3 will also lose V6 powerplant

 |  Apr 23 2009, 10:18 AM

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If you are looking at purchasing an Audi A4 (or A3 or TT for that matter) with the 3.2-liter V6 engine, now is the time to act. Come next year Audi has made the decision to cut the V6 engine from its lineup on those three models.

The move comes as Audi has noticed a serious drop in demand for the V6 engine. Apparently for every 3.2-liter V6 A4 sold, Audi sells nine of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder units.

Audi Corporate Communications boss Bradley Stertz told Autoblog that the move has less to do with the drop in demand for that particular engine and more to do with other options that have been added to the Audi lineup recently.

Those looking for a more powerful A4 can always opt for the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (offered at a serious premium in the S4). As for the A3, it will be offered with a TDI turbo-diesel powerplant soon, while the TTS gives TT owners a peppier version of the base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, that produces 265hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque, matching the V6 in horsepower and beating it in the torque category.

We won’t particularly miss the V6 either, as mentioned in our review of the A4, especially as the turbo 2.0 is such a strong engine and delivers excellent performance with better fuel-economy for significantly less.

Audi did not comment on if the TTS’s engine might replace the V6 in the near future.

[Source: Autoblog]