Audi drivers have built-up a generally poor reputation in recent years. Ask motorists what brand of car they’re usually tailgated by or observe not indicating when turning or changing lane and commonly the answer is the maker with the four-ring logo.
And a new report could provide the proof that some Audi drivers are the worst on our roads.
Driving data collated on more than 150,000 motorists in the UK found that motorists behind the wheel of the German brand’s sporty S3 have the lowest score when rated by an app measuring if people speed, corner too quickly and use their phone at the wheel.
While S3 drivers scored the lowest ratings, analysis revealed that owners of the Fiat Doblo MPV are the most competent of all. As we reveal the car models used by the best and worst motorists – is yours on the naughty driver list?
The worst motorists on the road drive an Audi: Analysis of driving data for 150,000 people in the UK found that owners of sporty S3s have the lowest score
The data has been supplied by DriveScore; a free UK app that measures how well people drive.
The smartphone application helps motorists to identify how they could be safer and more fuel efficient – and their score can even be used to help lower their insurance premiums.
Ratings are given out of a possible 1,000, which is based on motoring habits, including how often a motorists speeds, accelerates abruptly, brakes sharply and handle their phone while at the wheel.
Analysis of 150,000 motorists’ performance over 12 months between November 2021 and November 2022 found Fiat Doblo drivers hold an almost-perfect average driving score of 930.
Fiat’s Doblo – a small van turned MPV – had the best DriveScore rating of 930 out of 1,000 on average
Volvos have long been considered some of the safest cars on the road. This is reflected by their drivers, who took three spots among the ten safest of the road, the report shows
Also making the top 10 of the safest-driven car models in Britain is the long-defunct Suzuki Splash, which was discontinued in 2014
Drivers of the boxy Fiat MPV took the crown having recorded the most careful cornering, braking and acceleration of all models, beating Volvo XC70 owners by 30 points.
Doblo drivers – as well as drivers of the dinky Skoda Citigo – were found most likely to stick to speed limits, reporting the fewest speeding incidences of all models.
Also making the top 10 of the safest-driven car models in Britain are the long-defunct Suzuki Splash (discontinued in 2014), Suzuki’s bigger Grand Vitara 4×4 and Volvo’s S90, with owners of the three vehicles given an average rating of 890.
The rest of the best-driven car models in the UK;s top 10 all received a DriveScore of 800/1,000: Volvo S80; Jaguar S-Type; Hyundai Santa Fe; Ford Tourneo Connect; Citroen Berlingo; and Volvo V90.
Car models driven by the safest – and least safe – motorists
HIGHEST AVERAGE DRIVESCORES
1. Fiat Doblo – 930
2. Volvo XC70 – 900
=3. Suzuki Splash – 890
=3. Suzuki Grand Vitara – 890
=3. Volvo S80 – 890
=6. Jaguar S-Type – 880
=6. Hyundai Santa Fe – 880
=6. Ford Tourneo Connect – 880
=6. Citroen Berlingo – 880
=6. Volvo V90 – 880
LOWEST AVERAGE DRIVESCORES
1. Audi S3 – 690
2. BMW M135i – 710
=3. Volkswagen Scirocco – 730
=3. Chevrolet Captiva – 730
=5. BMW 116d – 740
=5. BMW 120d – 740
=7. Seat Ibiza – 750
=7. BMW 118d – 750
=7. Mercedes-Benz A180 – 750
=7. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 750
Source: DriveScore data based on the data collated from more than 150,000 UK motorists between Nov21-Nov22
Beware Audi S3 drivers, the report says
At the other end of the spectrum is the Audi S3 – the more powerful version of the German company’s popular A3 family hatchback and saloon, which offers lots of practicality but also an abundance of performance.
The data shows its drivers recorded the most instances of hasty acceleration and fast cornering, which combined to produce the lowest average score of 690.
That rating is one so low that DriveScore wouldn’t allow for individuals to share this information with insurers over concerns they would see a hike in premiums.
Audi’s S3 also sits in the top three car models for most events of speeding, alongside the Mitsubishi Lancer and Fiat Punto.
However, the latter two vehicles don’t appear in the worst drivers list because their owners redeemed themselves with high scores for other behaviours, such as braking and cornering considerately.
This is likely a sight many motorists have seen in their rear-view mirror – the famed four-ring logo of an Audi tailgating them on a motorway. The S3 (pictured) score 690/1,000 in the report
Like the Audi S3, the BMW M135i is a souped-up version of a popular family hatchback. DriveScore found that owners of this car are most likely to handle their phones at the wheel
BMW M135i drivers were second on the naughty list, with a rating of 710.
The biggest misdemeanour by owners of the performance BMW hatchback was being distract by their phones while behind the wheel.
On average, M135i owners handle their devices 50 per cent more than the average DriveScore user, and up to 12 times more than Citroen C5 drivers (who registered the best rating in this category), the report said.
Just behind the S3 and M135i in the list of lowest average DriveScores by car is the VW Scirocco coupe and Chevrolet Captiva crossover, both receiving a rating of 730.
The analysis shows that passengers travelling in a Captiva need to make sure they buckle up because drivers have the highest average number of events of harsh braking.
Other models making the list for having the least safe drivers include other variants of the BMW 1 Series, Seat’s Ibiza and two models from Mercedes – the A-Class and CLA SUV.
Another car to score a lowly rating for the safety of its drivers is Volkswagen’s Scirocco, earning a DriveScore of 730
Passengers travelling in a Chevrolet Captiva (pictured) need to make sure they buckle up because drivers have the highest average number of events of harsh braking
How the app measures how good you are at the wheel
The app uses GPS data combined with a smartphone’s sensors to monitor a driver’s speed in relation to the limit and type of road, how hard they accelerate and corner and how intensely they apply the brakes.
Once downloaded, the app automatically detects driving through the phone’s sensors and drivers can begin to build a score.
It can also monitor if they’re distracted by their phone while driving.
All of this information is then pushed through an algorithm to provide an overall rating out of 1,000 for each user, with the score updating each time you drive.
The aim of the app is to help good drivers to secure cheaper insurance by sharing their impressive scores with providers, though it also highlights if motorists need to make improvements to how they behave when in control of a car.
The app uses GPS data and smartphone sensors to monitor if a driver is speeding, cornering too fast or using their device at the wheel. It then calculates a score out of 1,000 so drivers with a proven record of safety can supply the data to insurers to cut premiums
Only scores 750 and above can be shared with insurers, meaning low-scoring drivers are not forced to pay higher premiums.
Commenting on the findings, DriveScore managing director, Ciaran Astin, said: ‘Insurers often charge higher insurance premiums for certain models of cars because of the high number of accidents and the cost of insurance claims caused by other drivers of those car models.
‘However, at DriveScore, we believe insurance premiums will be fairer if they are based on the skill of the individual driver, rather than the car they happen to drive.
‘The DriveScore app is for everyone, not just statistically safe drivers – and no one can see your score unless you decide to share it.
‘Knowledge is power and having access to your scores and detailed driving insights helps people see where they can improve and eventually unlock cheaper insurance premiums.
‘We’re all aware of stereotypes linking certain cars with driving performance, but it doesn’t have to be this way. DriveScore helps to cut through prejudices with personalised insights, so that everyone has a chance to pay fair prices for their policy.’
Recently, DriveScore reviewed data by nation, revealing that Scottish drivers are better behind the wheel than those in England and Wales.
Scots rated at 809 points out of 1,000 in the performance review, bettering motorists in Wales (792) and clear on drivers in England, who scored 783 out of 1,000 on average.