It means the four-door A3 range is the only European premium compact sold in the US that has both a five-star NHTSA rating and IIHS Top Safety Pick+ score.
Five-star NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) safety scores are not freely given out in North America – they’re awarded to vehicles that offer crash protection and rollover safety beyond what is required by federal law.
The double bonus for Audi is the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating – although this is admittedly only for models equipped with Audi pre sense front: testers were impressed by the Audi active lane assist and Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go tech.
Even so, the IIHS tests both crash worthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation: only cars that score highly in front crash protection can go on to earn the coveted ‘+’ for their Top Safety Pick classification.
Audi’s the first brand in the US premium compact segment to offer tech such as pre sense ‘crash preparation’ and secondary collision brake assist; all this impressed both US crash safety test bodies sufficiently to give the A3 sedan top honours.