The 5-Series has a very strong and stable passenger safety cage. It achieved a four-star rating after Euro NCAP allowed frontal, side and pole retests following improvements to the car’s steering column, footrest, door trim, door latch, airbags and software.
High loads were recorded by the driver dummy’s chest instrumentation in the frontal impact. Side impact protection was better, though.
An intelligent seat belt reminder operates for the driver and front passenger. Both child occupants were protected, but the car’s ability to protect pedestrians was dire.
The body proved to be strong, showing only minor distortion of the passenger cell. The driver’s door could be opened almost normally after the crash.
Intrusion at the footwell was minimal and control of the pedals was good.
The restraint system includes dual stage non-tethered airbags for the driver and passenger, driver seat belt with dual pre-tensioner and a single pre-tensioner for the passenger belt. Both are combined with load limiters.
A deformable element designed for higher energy impacts and positioned at the top of the steering column completes the system. Despite a good deal of design effort in the knee impact area, there remains some risk of injury for the driver and passenger knees.
The door-mounted side airbag and head airbag tube worked efficiently but protection was mixed: the driver’s head and pelvis fared better than his chest and abdomen.
Both children were seated in Fair Bimbo Fix restraints; rear-facing for the 18-month-old and forward-facing for the 3-year-old. Both children were well protected in the frontal and side impacts.
A pictogram was fitted to the passenger door pillar and a text label to the screen. Neither was permanent nor warned against placing a child in a rear-facing restraint opposite an active airbag.
Protection for pedestrians was extremely poor, scoring just two points. BMW need to take the protection of pedestrians much more seriously than this.