Not too surprising, but still disappointing.
For understandable reasons that we're confident you're already well versed in, a lot of the controversy surrounding the 'dieselgate' crisis has been focused at Volkswagen. After all, it's the head car making division of a company that was caught fiddling with emission-regulating equipment on a huge scale, so VW was obviously going to face the brunt of the scorn. However, as Suddeutsche Zeitung has uncovered, Audi could also have had a huge part to play in the development of the now-infamous 'defeat device.'
According to emails acquired by the German newspaper, Audi's engineers were involved in at least some capacity in creating the emissions-test-cheating software. In fact, there's some evidence to suggest that these currently anonymous Audi engineers had some part to play in the decision process that lead to the defeat devices being created in the first place. Considering the amounts of parts and platform sharing that goes on in the Volkswagen Group, it's perhaps not unthinkable to suggest Audi's engineers would also be involved in some capacity, though it does make you wonder just how widespread this was at the Volkswagen Group.
If there's any sympathy to be lavished on these engineers (assuming these emails are legitimate), then the declaration of one engineer that "without cheating, we cannot meet the US [emissions] limits" does perhaps indicate the pressure these engineers must be under to comply with ever-stringent regulations. Of course, this isn't the first time a member of staff at a car company reckons emissions targets can't be reached, and it almost certainly won't be the last. But it does at least bring light to a potential side of this dieselgate story. We're not condoning the emissions test cheating, but we can at least understand why the engineers felt like they had no real alternative.