60,000 vehicles thought to be affected

A new emissions-testing cheat device has been discovered on one version of the 3.0-litre V6 TDI fitted to the outgoing Audi A6 and Audi A7 models.

Der Spiegel has learnt Germany's Motor Transport Authority (KBA) is investigating one of the diesel engines used in the now-usurped Audi A6 and A7 ranges for a suspected emissions-testing cheat device.

The engine in question is the 200kW variant of the Gen2 Evo V6 TDI. At present only the 160kW and 235kW versions of the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine are sold in Australian A6 and A7 models.

"The KBA has opened an official hearing on the suspicion of an inadmissible defeat device for Audi V6 TDI vehicles of the A6 / A7 models", a spokesperson from the KBA told the German publication.

An Audi spokesperson told Der Spiegel the company "discovered an irregularity just over a week ago and communicated it to the KBA last Friday, we are working on a software update and are in close contact with the KBA".

The German news magazine understands the alleged new emissions-testing cheat device centres around the AdBlue system, which uses a urea solution to convert harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) into water vapour and nitrogen.

It's said the system aims reduce owner inconvenience by cutting back on urea usage when the AdBlue tank has an estimated 2400km worth of liquid left.

Around 60,000 Audi vehicles are estimated to have this device fitted, and the company has reportedly stopped production of the A6.

A new generation version of the A7 is already on sale in Europe, and is due in Australia around the middle of the year. Production of the new A6 is slated to begin in June.

Australia

Audi has provided the following statement about the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engines being investigated in Europe:

"Our customers are our highest priority and Audi Australia is currently working with AUDI AG to understand whether any Australian vehicles are affected. Customers should feel free to contact our Customer Experience Contact Centre on 1800 50 AUDI (2834) at any time for the latest available information."

Given the 3.0-litre TDI wasn't offered in Australia in the affected state of tune, it seems unlikely local cars are caught up in the latest twist of this never-ending saga.