BMW luxury sedans fared worst in protecting their occupants from side-impact crashes, in tests conducted by the insurance industry.
After frontal impact crashes, side-impact incidents are the deadliest type of impact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The insurance industry tested luxury sedans that had standard side airbags:
1. Volvo S80
2. Acura RL,
3. Kia Amanti
4. Cadillac STS
5. Mercedes E-Class
6. BMW 5 Series
All of the sedans tested were 2007 models except the 5 Series, which was redesigned for 2008.
The Acura RL, the Kia Amant i and the Volvo S80 all earned the highest safety rating in the study. The Volvo S80 fared particularly well and was rated the best performer in the study because of its good performance in rear and frontal crashes. It was also designated the Top Safety Pick by the Institute. The Cadillac STS and Mercedes E-Class earned the second-highest rating.
However, the worst performer in the study was the BMW 5 Series.
According to Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this was an unexpected result.
"It was surprising in part because BMW was one of the leaders in side-impact protection in the 1990s," Rader told CTV's Canada AM. "They were the first to install head-protecting side air bags in a vehicle back in 1998."
BMW spokesman Thomas Plucinsky said the dummy in the 5 Series was injured when it was hit by the arm rest during the test.
Plucinsky said BMW conducts as many as 12 crash tests on all of its cars as well as computer simulations of crashes, ctv.ca reports.
Results of other institute crash tests of these five models, measuring frontal and rear-impact protection, had been released earlier.
All are available on the institute's Web site at www.iihs.org.
The Volvo S80 was rated "good" in those categories, making it the only car in its group to earn a "top safety pick" designation from the institute.
The Mercedes E-Class sedan also was deemed "good" in frontal and rear impacts, but its "acceptable" side-impact rating precluded a "top pick" rating. The Acura RL also was rated good in frontal protection but was "marginal" in protecting against neck injuries when the car is struck in the rear, the institute reported. The Cadillac STS was "good" in the frontal crash but "poor" in rear impact protection, chinapost.com.tw reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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