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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Top Safety Pick (sedan)
Five stars overall; five stars frontal, four stars side impact (sedan)
The BMW 3-Series Sedan was all-new last year, while Coupe and Convertible versions carry over for one more year under the previous E90 design.
What that means, to put it bluntly, is that if you opt for a two-door 3-Series, you're not going to get occupant protection that's on par with the latest 3er sedans. Coupe and Convertible versions carry over ‘good’ scores for frontal impact and side impact plus an ‘acceptable’ score for roof strength from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), while they weren't at all rated by the federal government's new-car assessment program (NCAP).
But the 2013 BMW 3-Series Sedan does much better; it gets a top five-star score from the federal government, including a five-star score for side impact and four stars for frontal impact. And it earns top 'good' scores in frontal, side, and rear impact tests, along with roof strength, and earns the Top Safety Pick designation.
There is already one blemish for the sedans, though; the 2013 3-Series earned just 'marginal' in the new IIHS small-overlap frontal test, which simulates a collision with a pole, or the corner of a larger vehicle.
The 3-Series sedans have a completely new structure with more aluminum than ever before, along with ultra-high tensile steels, to help make it light yet protective.
All 3-Series sedans include front and front side airbags, plus side head airbags covering both rows. Several other optional tech features might enhance safety. Active Blind Spot Detection and the Lane Departure Warning System include a camera-based Collision Warning system and are for the first time offered in the 3-Series. The 3-Series also includes an Automatic Collision Notification system that relays to emergency responders detailed information on the type of accident and likely level of trauma.
Also available as part of an enhanced Park Distance Control is a new rearview camera system with side view and top view modes to give a bird’s-eye view in close spaces and to monitor cross traffic when pulling out of concealed exits (like alleys).
BMW's outfitted the latest 3-Series with lots of advanced safety features, and it earns a five-star safety rating.