The latest device, according to Bild am Sonntag, measures how far the cars' steering wheel is being turned. If the wheel is turned less than 15 degrees, indicating that the vehicle is being tested in laboratory conditions, a program in cars with certain automatic transmissions changes the way the gearbox shifts. The change in the transmission allows the engine to produce less carbon dioxide than when driving in normal conditions. When the wheel is turned more than 15 degrees, the program automatically turns off, claims Bild am Sonntag.
The paper reports that Audi took the software out of its vehicles, which was used in both diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles in Europe and the US, earlier this May after CARB discovered the program on one of the automaker's older cars. Several engineers that were connected with the emissions-cheating device have already been suspended, reports Bild am Sonntag.
As the German newspaper points out, the device, which is fitted to certain Audis with an automatic transmission, is different from the cheat devices found on the automaker's 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel V6 engine and Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbodiesel motor, even those were also designed to beat emissions tests. The 3.0-liter engine is found in the Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg, and Porsche Cayenne models. Audi didn't immediately respond to our request for a comment.