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Audi's Most Popular New Models Have A Software Glitch


Own a new A4 or A5? This concerns you.

When it comes to recalls, fewer than 150,000 vehicles hardly seems like a drop in the bucket among the largest campaigns we've seen. But for Audi, it's huge.

The German automaker has announced the recall in the United States of 144,092 vehicles – all of them from the A4 and A5 families. That's a rather large number of vehicles when you consider that it only sold 223,323 units here last year, of which the compact A4 and A5 lines accounted for 60,538 vehicles, or less than half the scope of the recall in question.

The problem here is with the occupant-detection system that's supposed to determine if the front passenger airbag should be activated or not. Apparently it's not doing its job right, so Audi is calling them in to have its dealers update the software for the airbag control unit.

Included in the recall are the 2017-18 A4 sedan and A4 Allroad wagon, as well as the 2018 A5 coupe, A5 Cabriolet, A5 Sportback, S5 coupe, S5 Cabriolet, S5 Sportback, and S4 sedan. That's pretty much Audi's entire compact passenger-car family, save for the RS5 performance models and the larger Q5 and SQ5 crossovers.

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Audi rolled out the current B9-generation A4 late in 2015, and the closely related A5 in mid-2016. Together they amount to the company's hottest-selling passenger cars in America, and its most popular models here behind only the Q5 and Q7 crossovers. In fact their combined sales amount to 150 percent more than all its other passenger cars together, including the A3, A6, A7, A8, TT, and R8 families.

This latest recall comes less about a month after Audi announced four previous campaigns for a wide variety of vehicles – nearly 300,000 of them, all told, including versions of A3, Q3, Q5, and A8 model lines.