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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
'Good,' frontal, side, and rear impact; 'good,' roof overlap; 'marginal,' small overlap frontal
Five stars overall; four stars frontal, five stars side impact
No matter which version of the 2015 BMW 3-Series sedan lineup you choose, you'll find good occupant protection as well as some handy active-safety features. And as for Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models, don't expect any compromise in safety.
On all 2015 3-Series models, you get 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. It's offered 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).
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.
In federal NCAP testing, the 3-Series earns five stars overall, including four stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, the BMW 3-Series has fared well, too, earning top 'good results in all subcategories except for one -- the small overlap frontal impact, where it performed only to 'marginal' standards.
The federal government has extended those results for the sedan to both the wagon and GT, while the IIHS keeps their ratings valid for the sedan only.
You can equip the 2015 BMW 3-Series with more active-safety features, but one of its crash-test scores is subpar.