Updated with BMWNA official statement. See below

A new crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the F30 BMW 3 Series a score rating of “Marginal.” Same challenge was encountered by Acura TSX, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC. As a matter of fact, only 3 of 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars evaluated earn good or acceptable ratings in new small overlap frontal crash test: Acura TL, Volvo S60 and Infiniti G.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 earn poor. All of these cars are 2012 models.

The new crash test, dubbed “small overlap test”, is designed to simulate “what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.” This replaces the previous frontal crash test that simulates a collision with another vehicle at 40 mph.

In the test, 25 percent of a car’s front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph.

“Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year,” Institute President Adrian Lund says. “Small overlap crashes are a major source of these fatalities. This new test program is based on years of analyzing real-world frontal crashes and then replicating them in our crash test facility to determine how people are being seriously injured and how cars can be designed to protect them better. We think this is the next step in improving frontal crash protection.”

Full report at IIHS

BMW has recently aced existing crash tests, but the new small overlap test is designed to be much more difficult, and will lead to additional safety being engineered into future cars.

Here are the test results for the 2012 BMW 3 Series:


New crash test aims to drive improvements


BMWNA Statement on IIHS “Small Overlap” Frontal Crash Test (F30 Tested)

Overall, BMW is pleased with the performance of its Top Safety Pick-winning 3 Series Sedan in the new IIHS small overlap 40mph frontal crash test. The new test, described by the IIHS President as “severe,” was performed on eleven segment-similar vehicles, and the substantial damage inflicted on the driver’s side of each vehicle is evidence of the test’s unusually violent nature. Active and passive elements of BMW’s Integrated Safety System successfully shielded the crash test dummy from life-threatening injuries. BMW values the research of the IIHS, and will continue to develop our comprehensive safety engineering philosophy comprised of equal elements for accident avoidance, accident survivability, and post-crash assistance.

Customers with questions may contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-831-1117, or email CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.