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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Four stars, front impact; five stars, side impact
"Good," frontal offset impact; "good," side impact
The 2011 3 Series is too new to have been crash tested by the car insurance industry or federal government, but all models except the convertible have always received superb safety scores.
The convertible lacks the side curtains, but the regular front side airbags extend up to head level and there are also pop-up rollover hoops.
The 2011 BMW 3-Series hasn't been tested yet, but the nearly identical 2010 model performed well in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, returning better-than-average scores. The IIHS rated the 3-Series “good,” its highest rating. NHTSA awarded five-star ratings for front and rear side-impact safety, while frontal crash tests scored four stars.
Standard safety features include a full suite of airbags, run-flat tires, anti-lock brakes, and a stability control system. An optional automatic high-beam system helps improve nighttime visibility. Overall visibility from the driver's seat is good, though thick front pillars can occasionally make it tough to see around corners.
Though it doesn't score perfect ratings across the board in crash tests, the 2011 BMW 3-Series offers lots of safety equipment and good visibility.