Infiniti Q70 Earns Top Safety Pick+ Status, But BMW 5-Series, Lincoln MKS Flub Crash Test

October 2, 2014

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released the results from its latest round of crash tests. This time, three large luxury cars undertook the IIHS' newest and most difficult test, the small overlap front crash, and their scores run the gamut from awful to awesome.

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2014-2015 Infiniti Q70

As you'll see from the video clip above, the Q70 fared well in the small overlap test, which is designed to simulate a crash that affects 25 percent of a vehicle's front bumper at 40 mph. In the real world, this kind of collision happens all the time -- for example, when a car hits a tree or streetlight, or crosses the center line and hits the corner of an oncoming vehicle.

The IIHS reports that during the Q70's test, the cabin remained reasonably secure, airbags deployed as expected, and the test dummy's movement was well controlled. Post-crash analysis of the dummy revealed that, if it had been a human driver, the chance of significant injury would've been low. 

Accordingly, the IIHS awarded the Infiniti Q70 a grade of "good" on the test. Because the Q70 had received "good" scores on the IIHS's other crash tests, it was dubbed a Top Safety Pick. And because the 2014 model's front collision prevention system scored a rating of "basic", the car was deemed eligible for the more prestigious Top Safety Pick+ status. (An upgraded crash prevention system is available on the 2015 Q70 but hasn't yet been tested by IIHS.)

2011-2015 BMW 5-Series

The BMW 5-Series didn't perform as well as the Q70. As this video shows, the structure of the BMW jutted into the driver's space by as much as 12 inches, with intrusion being worst at the lower end of the compartment. However, airbags performed as intended, keeping the dummy from moving too much. 

Because the small overlap front test is so new, the IIHS only requires that cars score a rating of "good" or "acceptable" on it to be eligible for Top Safety Pick status. However, due to the intrusion into the BMW's cabin, which would've likely caused substantial injuries to the driver's left leg, the IIHS awarded the 5-Series a rating of "marginal". As a result, the car is ineligible to be a Top Safety Pick.

2009-2015 Lincoln MKS

As shown in this video, the MKS was the worst performer of the bunch. The IIHS says:

"The driver space was severely limited after the crash, with the structure pushing in as much as 12 inches. The steering column moved 5 inches inward and 6 inches to the right. The dummy’s head barely contacted the front airbag before sliding off the left side and hitting the instrument panel. Injury measures from the dummy showed that left hip injuries would be likely and left knee and lower leg injuries would be possible."

The MKS was given a "poor" rating, which rendered it ineligible to be considered a Top Safety Pick. 

Of the seven large luxury cars that have undertaken the small overlap front crash test since its introduction in 2012, the IIHS says that the 5-Series and the MKS have been the worst performers.

However, they may have company soon. The Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, and Lexus GS were supposed to be included in the same round of tests, but were withdrawn because each of the manufacturers asked for more time to improve their cars for the small overlap test. Provided Audi, Cadillac, and Lexus don't ask for unreasonable delays, the IIHS is inclined to accommodate their requests.

At the other end of the scale, the Infiniti Q70 joins four other large luxury vehicles that have achieved Top Safety Pick+ status: the Acura RLX, the Hyundai Genesis, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, and the Volvo S80.

You can find safety ratings on a wide range of vehicles at IIHS.org.

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