In what comes as a surprise to many people, BMW’s 2008 5-Series has scored quite poorly in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new side-impact crash tests. The 5-Series, described as "one of the most expensive models tested", got the second lowest rating of "marginal" for side-impact protection.
"Torso protection is rated poor for the driver dummy in the 5-Series, even though it has separate airbags designed to protect the chests and abdomens of front-seat occupants," the Institute said in a statement. "Measures recorded on the driver dummy indicate that rib fractures and internal organ injuries would be likely to occur in a real-world crash of this severity. A pelvic fracture also would be possible."
The Institute said its side crash tests are based on performance in a crash in which the side of the vehicle is struck by a "moving deformable barrier" with a front end that represents the front of a typical SUV or pickup. That’s not the worst of it though. One of the cars that recieved a "good" rating on the same test was the Kia Amanti. A Kia outperforming a BMW? Well, to be fair, the Kia did score "marginal" in its rear impact test, but it shows that at least it’s better than the 5-Series at something.
The highest rated car, the Volvo S80, was cited as a "2007 Top Safety Pick" because it earned "good" ratings in front, side and rear tests and has stability control as standard equipment. Whether or not this forces BMW back to the drawing boards is still up in the air. I doubt this news will affect BMW sales, but I know the company takes great pride in their superiority in all areas of car design, including safety.