HERNDON, VA - Audi of America, Inc. announced that the Q5 and A4 models earned 2010 TOP SAFETY PICK ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The two best-selling Audi models join the Audi A3 in achieving the highest safety recognition granted by the influential IIHS.

"Safety is a leading criterion for customers wishing to purchase a luxury vehicle," said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America.  "It is an important step that now three Audi vehicles are designated with TOP SAFETY PICK ratings, the highest number for a German luxury brand.  In particular, the A4 and Q5 models are our highest selling nameplates, whose value is only increased by these IIHS results."

For the 2010 model year and beyond, IIHS included a new rollover roof strength test.  To earn TOP SAFETY PICK recognition, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of good for roof strength in rollover crashes.  To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes.

A vehicle earning a good rating can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle's weight.  Current federal standards require a vehicle's roof to withstand 1.5 times total weight. 

TOP SAFETY PICK also recognizes the vehicles that earn the highest rating of good for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and that have electronic stability control, which is standard on all of these models. 

None of the three Audi models with the TOP SAFETY PICK rating required any structural changes to meet the rollover testing criteria. The A3 has been on sale in the U.S. since Spring 2005 and received interior and exterior trim updates in Fall 2008. Its year-to-date sales are up over 100 percent due to the introduction of a TDI clean diesel variant in November 2009.  The current A4 was completely redesigned with a U.S. market introduction in fall 2008, whose sporty upgrade variant, the S4, has yet to lose a comparison test.  The Q5 went on sale in the U.S. in February 2009, quickly becoming one of the most successful nameplates in the Audi global product portfolio.

"You can't predict what kind of crash you're going to be in, so it's important to buy a vehicle that will protect you in all kinds of crashes," said IIHS president Adrian Lund.  "The A3, A4, and Q5 are in an elite group of vehicles that afford the highest level of front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and that have electronic stability control to help prevent crashes from happening altogether."

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet