The BMW 5 Series comes back strong for the 2017 model year, boasting a crashworthiness quotient that earns it the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest honor: Top Safety Pick Plus. The redesigned seventh-generation's safety success is largely attributable to the mid-size luxury sedan's much-improved performance in IIHS' stringent small overlap front crash test, which simulates the front corner of the car striking a tree or utility pole.
"In the small overlap test of the 2017 model, the driver space was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of 5 inches at the footrest," IIHS stated. "The airbags and safety belt worked well together to control the dummy's movement, and measures taken from the dummy indicated a low risk of any significant injuries in a real-world crash of the same severity."
That's compared with the 2016 model's performance in the small overlap test, resulting in 12 inches' intrusion at the footrest and pushing the steering column back 3 inches toward the driver. Researchers concluded that injuries to the lower left leg in a real-world crash would be likely, with injuries to the left foot possible.
The 5 Series earned requisite good scores in small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations. It also received a superior rating for both available front crash prevention systems (advanced or superior is required for the Plus designation), both of which avoided collisions at 12 mph and 25 mph. In IIHS' new headlight evaluation, both the 5 Series' optional lighting and premium package lamps were deemed good (the Plus award requires acceptable or good), while the standard lamps were rated marginal.
The model's freshly minted Plus award joins another major crashworthiness accolade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety award, for its hatchback body style. The 2017 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo rear- and all-wheel-drive versions previously earned four stars for frontal crashes, and five stars for side and rollover crashes, for an overall score of five.
Thanks to its improved safety rating, the 5 Series is now a top crashworthiness competitor in its class. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class, last fully evaluated by IIHS for 2016, also earned the Plus honor, though it now faces the headlight hurdle for 2017. The 2017 Audi A6 earned a Top Safety Pick (minus the Plus), receiving an advanced score for front crash prevention and a marginal score for headlights. The Lexus GS hasn't been fully tested for several model years.
The 2017 BMW 5 Series is on sale now, starting at $52,195 including a destination charge.