The A4 has a strong passenger compartment that protected its occupants. The airbags worked well to keep front occupants in the front and side impacts from harm. They also safeguarded the heads of those in the rear during the side impact. This is a safe car which deserves its four star rating. It is a pity that airbag warnings for children are inadequate and pedestrian protection has been ignored.
The restraint system protected the driver’s head and neck. The front belts had pyrotechnic pre-tensioners and load limiters. Although they stopped the driver’s chest hitting the steering wheel, they increased the forces acting on it. The brake and clutch pedal were designed to break away in an impact to lessen the risk of injuries and they performed well. Safety in the knee impact area was much improved over the previous A4’s but the column lock and adjuster lever were still sited where they could cause harm. A centre rear lap-and-diagonal belt was an optional extra, which is surprising for a car that has so many safety features. The two-point lap belt could cause severe injuries.
Impressive side impact protection included an advanced head curtain airbag. This latest A4 achieved full marks in these tests.
A passenger airbag was standard and Audi needs to take seriously the risk to children in rear-facing restraints fitted on to the front passenger’s seat. Only a pictogram and a removable label on the windscreen were present and neither explained the risk of serious injury or death if the warning given was ignored. The rear outboard belts were adapted so that child seats could be better secured, but this was not adequately explained. The VW-branded forward-facing Römer Prince Bobsy G1 Universal seats did not protect well. They did not contain the children’s heads in the side impact, and the 18-month-old risked neck injury in the front impact.
Protection was almost non-existent. This car will inflict unnecessary damage on anyone that it hits.