The Insurance Institued for Highway Safety released the results from their side impact tests on luxury sedans and the results were not pleasing for BMW. The tests were designed to replicate the conditions involving a large SUV as it collides with a smaller 4-door sedan. The collision tests were performed at 31 mph and were directed straight upon the B-pillar of the car.
The highes rated luxury sedans to emerge from the testing were the Acura TL, Volvo S80 and the Kia Amanti. The Kia was a pleasant surprise to reach the highest grade as it is also the cheapest luxury sedan in the bunch at a cost of around $25,000. The Mercedes E-Class and the Cadillac STS were rated in the second tier of the 6 luxury sedans tested. So why did the BMW 5-Series perform so poorly?
The reason provided by the IIHS for the poor test resultÂ for the BMW 5-Series was the arm rest. The side-curtain and steering wheel air bags all performed as they should in the testing. But the arm rest of the vehicle resulted in damage sufficient enough on the crash test dummy to result in a D minus rating for the test.
BMW’s response to the arm rest injury was less than informative as they claimed that the single crash test should be considered far from conclusive. The position of the seat back could easily have altered these results and such incidents never occured during BMW’s 12 similar tests; or so says the BMW representative.
For the BMW loyalty crowd it is highly unlikely that the poor side impact results from the IIHS will keep them from buying their next Bimmer. The impact the test results will have on new car buyers will take some time to determine, but it seems unlikely that BMW sales will nose-dive in response.