Audi has been ordered to recall 127,000 cars in Germany due to concerns over diesel engine emissions.

Reuters, citing the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, said the government KBA automotive watchdog had detected illicit emission control software in new Euro-6 diesel models and the recall.

Audi, told the news agency in a statement the models had been included in a voluntary recall of 850,000 diesel vehicles with V6 and V8 TDI engines announced last July.

"The engine control software for the vehicles in question will be completely revised, tested and submitted to the KBA for approval," Audi said but did not confirm more details of KBA's request.

Bild am Sonntag had said KBA had told Audi to respond by 2 February with details of its plans to update vehicle software controlling emission so the cars are unable to illegally manipulate emission controls.

Audi told Reuters it had been examining its diesel-fuelled cars for potential irregularities for months in close cooperation with the KBA.

"As part of this systematic and detailed assessment, the KBA has now also issued a notice regarding Audi models with V6 TDI engines," the automaker said.

In November, Audi announced a recall of 5,000 A8 cars in Europe for a software fix after discovering they emitted too much nitrogen oxide.