The 2009 BMW 5-Series performed poorly in side-impact crash tests and in driver-side front impact tests—remarkably so for such an expensive vehicle, leading to its very low safety score.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the BMW 5-Series only three stars for driver front-impact protection—a result so surprising, it was widely reported in the non-automotive press. The bad news didn't end there; the insurance-industry-supported Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found the 5-Series sedan to be just "marginal" in side protection and "acceptable" for the sedan and wagon in the seat-based rear-impact test.
However, the 2009 BMW 5-Series incorporates an enviable list of safety standards. Edmunds says the 5-Series’ standard safety equipment includes “stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and front-and-rear side-curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are optional and, due to safety concerns, you must specifically request that your dealer activate the bags if you order this option.”
According to Autoblog, there’s also some active and passive safety equipment worth noting: "Lane Departure Warning system provides an immediate but discreet notification when the car crosses into another lane without turn signals...[while the] body structure [is] engineered for excellent occupant protection in full and offset frontal impacts, side impacts and rear impacts,"
ConsumerGuide says "visibility is only average over the shoulder and to the rear." Edmunds also notes that the all-wheel-drive 5-Series comes with Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.