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BMW 3 series earns marginal rating in IIHS new small overlap frontal crash test

Insurance institute for highway security (IIHS) has given the F 30 BMW 3 series a score rating of marginal after conclusion of a simulated crash test. Acura, Volkswagen CC and Lincoln MKZ were also part of this crash test. The number of cars that received good ratings in this test was very few as only 3 out of 11 cars achieved an acceptable rating in the new small overlap frontal crash test. The Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C class, and Lexus IS 250/350 attained a poor rating for the test.

This new small overlap frontal crash test is designed to understand possibility of something going wrong when one chips the front corner of the car on a pole or with another vehicle at high speeds. In this test 25% of the driver side front end of the car is struck against a 5 ft tall rigid barrier at a speed of 40 mph.

The small overlap test is completely different from the frontal crash simulator. It has been seen that though all new cars have varied safety features embedded within their body, there are many instances of deaths due to frontal collisions. The new BMW 3 series luxury sedan for the Indian auto industry launch took place at the end of July 2012. The F30 here is available for a price of Rs 28.90 lakhs and is offered in as a Sport Line and Luxury Line, with the BMW 328i Sport Line available for Rs 37,90,000 ex-showroom.

2012 BMW 3 series small overlap test


BMW 3 series

2012 models


Structure/safety cage Injury measures Restraints/dummy kinematics
Head/neck Chest Hip/thigh Lower leg/foot

Important: Frontal crash test ratings can be compared only among vehicles of similar weight.

 Good  Acceptable  Marginal  Poor


The BMW 3 series sedan was redesigned for the 2012 model year.

Structure — The driver space was not maintained well. The footrest was pushed in toward the driver 40 cm, while the instrument panel intruded as much as 16 cm.

Restraints/dummy kinematics — The dummy’s head loaded the frontal airbag which stayed in front of the dummy until rebound. However, the steering column moved upward 16 cm, resulting in little airbag cushioning for the chest. Additionally, the seat belt allowed excessive forward excursion of the dummy’s head and torso. The side curtain airbag deployed but does not have sufficient forward coverage to protect the head from contact with side structure and outside objects. The side torso airbag did not deploy, leaving the chest vulnerable to contact with side structure.

Injury measures — Measures from the dummy indicate that injuries to the left lower leg, ankle, and heel would be likely in a crash of this severity. Injuries to the right lower leg, ankle, and heel would be possible. The risk of significant injuries to other body regions is low.


“Tested vehicle specifications” below

Left to right:

  • Action shot taken during the small overlap frontal crash test.
  • The dummy’s position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver’s survival space wasn’t maintained well.
  • During the crash, the seat belt allowed the dummy to move too far forward, as is evident from the gap between the seat back and the dummy’s torso.
  • Intrusion into the occupant compartment was extensive as the left front wheel was forced rearward and inward into the driver’s footwell during the crash. Left lower leg, ankle, and heel injury risk was high.
  • Side airbags: front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags
  • Driver and front passenger knee airbags: separate airbags in the lower instrument panel designed to minimize knee injuries in frontal crashes
  • Electronic stability control
  • Antilock brakes
  • Daytime running lights
  • 2012 BMW 328i 4-door
  • Class: Midsize luxury/near luxury car
  • Weight: 3,404 lbs.
  • Side airbags: front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags
  • Wheelbase: 111 in.
  • Length: 183 in.
  • Width: 71 in.
  • Engine: 2.0 L turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • EPA ratings: 24 mpg city | 36 mpg highway

See all test results for BMW 3 series


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