Last week, a German newspaper reported that Audi was hiding emissions-cheating software in its automatic transmissions. I don't know why it took a whole week, but Volkswagen finally came around to admitting as much.
"Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results" in emissions tests, Volkswagen told Reuters on Sunday. Software in the AL 551 automatic transmission may detect testing conditions and shift in a way that minimizes emissions, only to act "normally" out on the road. Much like Dieselgate's defeat device, that leads to higher-than-imagined pollution, which could be in excess of legal limits.
Audi's AL 551 can be found in both gas and diesel vehicles, including the, and .
Volkswagen isn't going full mea culpa here, though. The automaker also told Reuters that its adaptive transmission software is meant to change shift points in order to improve on-road performance. Many automatic transmissions these days learn from driver input and tailor shifting to match a driver's style, which leads to a smoother drive. VW Group did not immediately return a request for comment.
Audi is still stuck in Dieselgate hell as it works with US regulators on its 3.0-liter diesel vehicles. These cars were not covered under the same settlement as Volkswagen Group's 2.0-liter diesels. If a fix cannot be found, a buyback might be necessary, which would cost the company billions of dollars above what it's already spent. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for November 30 in San Francisco.