The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducts crash tests to evaluate the safety of vehicles in the event of a collision. These tests are conducted on every vehicle sold in the US, including cars, trucks, and SUVs. Based on their performance in these tests, vehicles are awarded stars for their performance. A five-star rating, like the one awarded to the Audi Q8, indicates the highest possible score. 

In the video shared on CarPro1993's YouTube channel, the NHTSA prepares to crash-test a Q8, Audi's premium two-row SUV based on the seven-passenger Q7. The NHTSA places black and yellow tape along the roof and doors to measure impact intrusion to the passenger compartment. It uses dummies of different sizes in bright-coloured shirts and paints to evaluate impact severity and likelihood of injury.   

2023 Audi Q7 NHTSA Side Impact Test

Side-impact testing involves crashing a barrier directly into the side of a vehicle at its midpoint. Used to simulate a collision with another vehicle, the barrier strikes the driver's side of the Audi at 38.5 miles an hour, lifting the left-hand side wheels off the ground. The side curtain airbags deploy as the doors are pushed inward by the force of the impact. Inside, the dummies are jarred, first pushed against the airbags before rebounding to the right.  

In the aftermath of the crash, the Audi Q8 is moderately damaged. The B-pillar took the brunt of the impact, and the doors are noticeably deformed. Even so, the SUV looks driveable. The wheels appear straight, and the windscreen looks undamaged. The side windows popped out of their frames but didn't break. Inside, while the door panels are disfigured, the airbags deflected much of the force away from the dummies. 

According to the NHTSA's website, the Audi Q8 gets a five-star safety rating for side impact protection and an overall five-star rating for safety. It also receives a five-star rating for frontal impact and four stars for rollover safety. In addition to these categories, the NHTSA recently proposed stricter pedestrian safety tests, including standards for automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.