Audi is recalling up to 5,000 cars across Europe in order to fix software that has revealed they produce too many nitrogen oxides.

Nitrogen oxides are toxic gases produced by diesel engines. If exposed to them continuously, they can cause heart, lung and respiratory problems.

In the UK alone, harmful car emissions contributed to the premature deaths of 40,000 people – nitrogen oxides being one of the main contributors.

The harmful emissions were what Audi’s parent company VW tried to cover up during the 2015 dieselgate scandal.

The cars being recalled of the software update are 4,997 A8 model vehicles with 2.4 litre V8 diesel engines, of which 3,660 are in Germany and were made between September 2013 and August 2017.

Software updates for this car will likely become available in early 2018.

Audi released a statement saying that it had informed the German road transport authority KBA, which was concerned about the possibility of illegal emission level manipulation.

“Among other things, the update should ensure that after cold starts the engine more quickly reaches optimal operating conditions for the exhaust-gas treatment system so that its emissions are improved in real driving conditions,” Audi said.

“During the testing, it will be ensured that the new software has no disadvantages for customers in terms of fuel consumption or performance.”

In 2015, VW was found guilty of illegally manipulating engine software to help its cars cheat emissions tests in the lab.

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