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SAFETY | 6 out of 10
Three stars, front driver impact; five stars, front passenger impact and side impact
Good," frontal offset impact; "marginal," side impact
Rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional
The 2008 BMW M5 possesses a myriad of features that can make anyone feel safe, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com—but its crash-test scores don’t back up that impression.
The 2008 BMW M5 itself hasn't been tested by either of the crash-test authorities, but the virtually identical 5 Series on which its based has, and you can expect similar results in M5 BMW crash tests. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests, the 5 Series scored quite well, with one notable exception: The NHTSA awarded the BMW 5 Series a perfect five-star rating for side impact tests, as well as a five-star rating for passenger-side front impacts. Unfortunately, the 2008 BMW 5 Series, and accordingly the M5 BMW, earned only three out of a possible five stars for driver front-impact protection. That result is at odds with the BMW M5's ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), where it earned the highest possible rating, "good," for the IIHS's frontal offset impact test. Also, without the optional side impact airbags installed, the BMW 5 Series only earned a "marginal" score, the second-worst score possible, in the IIHS side impact test.
When it comes to safety features, the 2008 BMW M5 is, for the most part, loaded. Cars.com reports that the BMW M5 has "side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags and Dynamic Stability Control" as standard, as well as "traction control," according to Edmunds. Kelley Blue Book also notes the "sophisticated set of electronic stability, traction and brake controls" included on the M5 BMW. In terms of optional safety features, the BMW M5 offers two. Edmunds lists these M5 BMW safety add-ons as "rear seat side airbags and active head restraints," which move forward to help prevent whiplash in the event of a collision.
Visibility on the 2008 BMW M5, which can be an overlooked component of the safety equation, is just average, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. ConsumerGuide specifically reports "visibility is just OK over the shoulder and to the rear." Fortunately, Cars.com notes a "Park Distance Control" system comes standard to help with close parking maneuvers.
The 2008 BMW M5 has crash-test scores that simply aren’t competitive with top-drawer luxury sedans.