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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Good," frontal offset impact; "good," side impact; Top Safety Pick
Four stars, front impacts; five stars, side impacts
Head-protecting tubular side airbags...are standard
You might expect that such sound construction of the 2009 BMW 3-Series would lead to appropriately high crash-test ratings, and in this regard, the 3-Series is good but not quite at the top of its class. Fortunately, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the BMW 3-Series boasts a number of first-rate safety features that help keep occupants safe.
In both IIHS and NHTSA testing, the 2009 BMW 3-Series scores much better than average. In fact, the BMW 2009 lineup of 3-Series vehicles is one of the top performers of any model in IIHS tests, earning the highest possible rating, "good," in both the frontal offset and side impact categories. The BMW 3-Series also warrants a 2009 Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, which cites 2009 BMW 3-Series' "good performance in front, side, and rear tests and standard electronic stability control" as the primary reasons for the distinction. Although NHTSA is generally regarded as having less rigorous scoring procedures, the BMW 3-Series does not manage to sweep these federal crash-test ratings. In both driver- and passenger-side front impacts, the BMW 3-Series merits four out of five stars for occupant protection. However, the BMW 3-Series lineup achieves some redemption in the side-impact category, where it garners a perfect five-star rating from the NHTSA.
The 2009 BMW 3-Series is a technological showcase, and not just for the convenience features found inside the cabin. The BMW 3-Series also features an array of high-tech safety gear that constantly monitors the vehicle's performance, as well as the usual passive safety features that consumers have come to expect. Cars.com relates that the "standard safety features include: antilock brakes, electronic stability system, [and] side curtain airbags," while ConsumerGuide reports that "front side airbags" are also standard. Edmunds reviewers add that "run-flat tires" come standard, and the "stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use."
BMW has clearly designed the 2009 BMW 3-Series to offer good visibility in all directions. ConsumerGuide reviewers find on their test drive that "thick front pillars can obscure vision to the forward corners," but they also note "rear visibility is fine," a welcome feature for those who loathe navigating parking lots or freeway lane changes.
Despite a crash-test record that isn't quite perfect, the 2009 BMW 3-Series offers safety features that are more than competitive for the class.