CARS.COM — BMW is celebrating crashworthiness accolades on two fronts this week courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The luxury automaker’s 2 Series coupe has once again been named a Top Safety Pick Plus, IIHS’ highest honor, while the 3 Series sedan earns the same award for its first time.
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BMW said in a statement that the 3 Series underwent a series of enhancements for the 2017 model year, improving the 2016 model’s marginal performance in IIHS’ stringent small overlap crash test. The resulting rating of good in that test, combined with requisite good ratings in the other four crash tests – moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats – along with an advanced rating for front crash prevention and acceptable rating for headlights, proved to be a Plus.
To qualify for Top Safety Pick Plus status, a car must earn good scores in all of the agency’s crash tests as well as offer a front crash prevention system rated as advanced or superior. To earn the second-tier Top Safety Pick designation, vehicles must pass all crash tests with good scores but only have to offer a basic-rated front crash prevention system.
It’s the first year since 2013 that the 3 Series has been recognized by IIHS as a Top Safety Pick and its first time receiving a Plus designation since the program began. The 3 Series compares favorably among 2017 competitors, exceeding crash kudos for both the Infiniti Q50, which received no IIHS designation, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which earned a Top Safety Pick award but fell short of a Plus due to its poor performance in the new-for-2017 headlights category.
The 3 Series is edged out, however, by fellow Plus designee the 2017 Audi A4, which received a superior rating for front crash prevention and matched the Bimmer’s scores in all areas.
Meanwhile, the 2017 2 Series continues its unbroken streak of Plus awards for a third model year. The coupe initially received a Top Safety Pick designation in early December due to its performance on the new headlights evaluation; BMW then made improvements, raising its headlights score to good and earning the Plus award later that same month.