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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
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Sideview camera 'lets the driver view oncoming traffic when trying to enter a road from, say, an alley or garage exit'
Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, front and rear side airbags, knee airbags, and curtain side airbags
Head-up display 'is easily legible'
The 2014 BMW 7-Series hasn't been crash-tested by either of the U.S. safety agencies in its current generation—and it likely won't be—due to its price and relative rarity.
That said, we'll wager a lot on the 7-Series' reputation for wrapping in some of the best occupant safety in the world—and say that this is an extremely safe pick.
Standard safety equipment in all 7-Series models includes rear-seat side airbags, front-seat active head restraints, and knee airbags. BMW also fits a rearview camera, a front-view 180-degree camera, and parking sensors to assist drivers in keeping the 7-Series clear of parking-lot trouble.
All-wheel-drive models of the 7-Series include standard hill descent control--in this case, not for amazing off-road traction, but for controlling the car on icy, messy roads.
Attention Assist is standard across the lineup, and it monitors the driver's behavior and displays a coffee cup if it detects an unsafe level of fatigue. Also available on the 7-Series is Enhanced Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go, which will bring the vehicle to a complete stop if the driver doesn't react to stopped traffic in time.A Driver Assistance Package remains available, bundling together blind-spot detection, a lane-departure warning system (which vibrates the steering wheel when the car drifts from its lane) and automatic high-beam headlights.
The one potentially safety related item we might go without is the head-up display. Even though it's better done here than in some other vehicles, it does tend to clutter the view of the road ahead.
The 7-Series is a showcase for BMW's top safety technology.