The Audi A3 came as standard with side airbags and its structure performed well in the frontal and side impacts. In the frontal impact, further protection for the legs was the greatest priority, second only to reducing the forces acting on the chest from the seat belts. Pedestrian performance was patchy, though the A3 still merited a two-star rating. Attention had clearly been paid to providing protection for child and adult head impacts, but this was marred by its very rigid front at pedestrian leg-level.
The driver's door gave support to its aperture, which helped keep the body shell structurally sound. After the impact, the cabin remained stable and intrusion levels were relatively low. Both airbags provided stable support for the front occupants' heads. Seat belt loading on the chest could usefully be reduced, particularly for the passenger. The column lock, adjuster lever and bracket presented hazards in the knee impact area for the driver. These could cause high loads on his upper legs and damage to his knees.
The door is fitted with an aluminium beam that interlocks with the sill, extending its effective height while the door's profile against the occupant remains approximately vertical. The seat-mounted side airbags providing padding for the driver's chest and abdomen. After the impact, a gap of about 70mm remained between the door and the airbag module. The pelvis was loaded by the door bin behind which foam padding was fitted in the door.
The rear seat belts have automatic locks for use with child restraints, but no instruction label was provided on the belts. The adult's belt buckle marginally interfered with the guide slot on the recommended child restraint and prevented the belt from being properly tightened. There was a pictogram on the centre door pillar to warn against using a rearward facing child restraint where a front passenger airbag is fitted. There was also a text label on the windscreen but this gave no warning of the risk of serious injury or death, and the label itself was easily removed.
Audi does not appear to have taken any steps to design the bumper or bonnet leading edge to protect the legs of pedestrians. All test sites performed poorly. Protection was better for the head where only four of the 12 sites gave poor protection.