The new BMW 3 Series sets new standards for driving dynamics, aesthetic appeal and advanced technology in the areas of control/operation, driver assistance and connectivity. And the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and BMW 3 Series Touring also lead the way in their class when it comes to safety. The latest-generation 3 Series has been awarded the maximum five-star rating in the recent round of Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) crash testing. Added to which, it emerged with the best ever result for adult occupant protection achieved by a “large family car” (midsize model) since the introduction of the current, extremely demanding Euro NCAP test format. The BMW 3 Series also recorded excellent results for child occupant protection, “Vulnerable Road User” (e.g. pedestrian) protection and standard safety equipment.
A five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing represents a glowing endorsement of the effectiveness of a vehicle’s integrated safety concept, which – in the new BMW 3 Series, as in other models – encompasses both the body structure and the restraint systems. Supporting structures with a weight-optimised design and a high load-bearing capacity combine with precisely engineered deformation paths in the new 3 Series to provide the ideal basis for preserving the passenger cell’s rigidity in various types of collision – i.e. for keeping the occupants’ survival space intact. In Euro NCAP testing, the aluminium/high-strength steel safety passenger cell of the new BMW 3 Series proved to be extremely robust – both in the frontal and side collisions and the side pole impact. In a frontal collision, the forces acting on the vehicle are diverted via multiple load paths in the floor assembly, side frame, bulkhead and roof, and absorbed by large deformation zones. Reinforced side structures in the B-pillars and side sill areas, high-strength side impact members in the doors and sturdy seat cross-members protect the occupants in the event of a side-on collision. The seats and head restraints have been specially designed to minimise the risk of whiplash injuries resulting from a collision against the rear of the vehicle. Strengthened pillars and roof members ensure that the passenger cell retains its rigidity if the car rolls over.
Central safety electronics control the functioning of the various restraint systems fitted in the new BMW 3 Series. This means the three-point inertia-reel seatbelts on all seats deploy as part of a precisely coordinated response with the front, side and head airbags – according to the type of impact and its severity. The testers’ evaluation of the crash test results revealed that the new BMW 3 Series offers exceptionally high levels of protection for adult occupants, with an almost perfect score of 97 per cent. They are therefore protected from injury to an outstanding degree, regardless of their height or the seat’s position.
The levels of safety for children also impressed the test team. ISOFIX child seat attachments for the outer seats in the rear of the new BMW 3 Series make this an extremely safe place for children to travel. With the relevant seat systems fitted for six- and ten-year-old passengers respectively, the readings showed the test dummies were exposed to extremely modest loads in both the frontal and side crashes. The new 3 Series scored 23.8 out of a maximum 24 points for this criterion.
Evaluating the protective measures for vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians and cyclists), also forms part of Euro NCAP crash testing. The new BMW 3 Series reduces the risk of injury to these groups with carefully contoured body elements and flexible structures around its front end. It also has an active bonnet, whose pyrotechnic release mechanism is triggered as soon as the sensor data indicates a relevant type of collision. This raises the bonnet, creating a deformation zone that prevents direct impact with unyielding components in the engine compartment.
The extensive active safety features fitted as standard on the new BMW 3 Series are another factor in its five-star rating. The collision and pedestrian warning with braking function managed to safely avert a collision in all test scenarios, earning it maximum points in the assessment. This technology forms part of the standard Active Guard system that also comprises Lane Departure Warning with lane return and the Speed Limit Display road sign detection system with no-overtaking indicator. Standard specification for the 3 Series also includes DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), a tyre pressure indicator showing the pressures for each wheel, the Attentiveness Assistant and intelligent emergency call with BMW Accident Assistance.