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Security
The What Car? Awards are not just about individual models, but also some of the most important issues in their manufacture and design such as security.

The winner is
Security
Audi

An Audi is probably about as close as its possible to get to Fort Knox on four wheels

Audi won the inaugural What Car?/Thatcham Security Award last year, and it has taken the prize again in 2009. Whether youre concerned about theft of the car or someone smashing their way into it to see what they can nab, the verdict from motor industry research centre Thatcham is clear: Audi does most to protect owners from the worst intentions of criminals.

The A8 receives the highest score of all in Thatchams detailed New Vehicle Security Assessment, which is used as the basis for this award. The assessment pores over every aspect of a cars security and puts each through attack tests to see how well they can hold out. Marks are awarded for the cars resistance to the attacks and for the number and quality of the security features fitted from lock shielding and laminated glazing to the marking of components and secure stereos.

Thatcham says that the A8 luxury car is close to perfect. In fact, it drops only a few points, for lacking etched glazing. The really good news, though, is that you dont have to be a luxury car buyer to benefit from Audis approach. Eight of the companys model ranges including the most affordable, entry-level A3 hatchback came out of the security trials with flying colours.

Its this even-handed approach to security that impresses us most and this is the reason why Audi has triumphed here over other manufacturers that may have individual models with higher scores.

You may think that we dont need to worry so much about car security these days, but the sad fact is that the number of theft attempts on cars is likely to increase as we continue through the economic recession. So now is the perfect time for car manufacturers to take a leaf out of Audis book and improve the security of their cars.

Mazda, Volkswagen and Volvo have already taken up the challenge and are snapping at Audis heels with excellent results for their cars. However, a lot more car manufacturers need to make a lot more effort to improve vehicle security.