Audi's new A4 has earned top marks in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest round of crash tests, a huge improvement over its predecessor.
IIHS says the 2017 A4 received a "good" rating, its highest, in all of its crash tests—including the demanding small-overlap frontal crash test designed to simulate an offset head-on collision.
That test evaluates the performance of the car's A-pillar, among other structural measures, and the new A4's predecessor received a "poor," or the lowest rating, when it was tested.
Overall, the A4 earned the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus award, which puts it in the same category as entry-level luxury sedans like the Volvo S60 and Lexus ES, among a few others.
2017 Audi A4Enlarge Photo
IIHS also tests cars for direct head-on impacts, side impacts, roof strength, headrests, headlights, and even accessibility of LATCH anchors for child seats.
The new A4 rides on parent company Volkswagen's new MLB Evo architecture, which also underpins the 2017 Audi Q7 that aced its own IIHS evaluation, so it's not a huge surprise that the A4 would do so well.
IIHS commended the A4's optional Driver Assistance Package for its ability to automatically apply the brakes to prevent or reduce the severity of an accident.
Only the A4's headlights were seen as offering room for improvement in IIHS's testing. The independent, insurance industry-funded group called the range-topping Premium model's full LED lights "acceptable" when the cars are ordered up with the Driver Assistance Package. The Premium trim level's HID headlamps, meanwhile, were rated "marginal."