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BMW i3 gets only a four star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests [videos]

Weak chest protection

The 2014 BMW i3 managed to obtain only a four star rating in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.

Euro NCAP says the frugal electric/hybrid premium city car offered "weak" chest protection in more severe pole side impact tests. In addition, the front seats and head restraints provided "marginal protection" against whiplash in a rear-end collision.

Euro NCAP is also criticizing the BMW i3 for its lack of a standard rear seatbelt reminder. Moreover, the organization isn't too fond of the i3's speed limiter that uses sign recognition to inform the driver about the speed limit. In terms of pedestrian protection, the i3 provided poor results at the base of the windscreen and along the stiff windscreen pillars.

It's not all that bad since the BMW i3 offers good protection in case of a frontal impact and was able to score maximum points in child protection when the car was equipped with the BMW-recommended rear-facing seats. However, parents will have some issues handling their child in and out of the car because of the suicide doors (which BMW likes to mention as "coach doors.")

More details are provided by Euro NCAP in the attached press release.

Source: Euro NCAP
Published Nov 27, 2013 8:00 am By Adrian Padeanu
Posted in:

Adult occupant
The passenger compartment remained stable in the frontal impact. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of both the driver and passenger. BMW showed that a similar level of protection would be available to occupants of different sizes and to those sat in different positions. In the side barrier test, the i3 scored maximum points, with good protection of all body regions. In the more severe side pole impact, dummy readings of rib compression indicated that protection of the chest was weak. The front seats and head restraints provided marginal protection against whiplash in the event of a rear-end collision.

Child occupant
Both the 1½ and 3 year dummies were sat in rearward-facing seats, according to BMW's recommendation. Based on the dummy readings from the dynamic tests, the car scored maximum points for its protection of both infants. In the side impact, both dummies were properly contained within the protective shells of their restraints, minimising the likelihood of head contact with parts of the vehicle interior. A disabling system is available as an option for the front passenger airbag, allowing a rearward-facing child restraint to be used in that seating position. However, the information provided to the driver regarding the status of the airbag is not sufficiently clear. The risks of using a rearward-facing seat in the front passenger seat without first disabling the airbag are clearly indicated in the car. All of the child restraint types for which the car is designed could be properly installed and accommodated.

Pedestrian
The bumper scored maximum points for its protection of pedestrians' legs, with good results in all areas tested. However, the front edge of the bonnet was poor and scored no points. The bonnet provided protection to the head that was predominantly adequate or marginal, with poor results recorded at the base of the windscreen and along the stiff windscreen pillars.

Safety assist
The i3 has electronic stability control as standard equipment, and met Euro NCAP's test requirements. A seatbelt reminder is provided for the front seats but not for the rear. A system is available as an option which uses sign recognition to inform the driver of the speed limit. The driver can then set the speed limiter of the car to the appropriate speed. However, the system is not expected to reach Euro NCAP's minimum fitment rate to qualify for assessment.

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Comments (17)

 tbrodie tbrodie
I'll bet they tweak the car and retest it.
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February 4, 2014 7:10 pm
 Magusbbt Magusbbt
You should buy the one that gives you best value for money and also the most luxurious. With its styling, Jaguar can easily blow its class competitors out of water. It gives a jaguar look with its sleek lines along its length that matches in the front end with curves down to the menacing grill. Its quality is never compromising, with its innovative interiors. The lights inside put it class apart among the rivals and they seem to get lost in the dark. Quality of Jaguar’s engines have been improved which maintains the potency, by not avoiding the feel and comfort level.
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January 4, 2014 6:02 am
 Garais877 Garais877
oops...
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November 27, 2013 5:16 pm
 SebXX SebXX
For the price it's definitely disappointing. Nothing about the blind spots caused by the front pillars ? Despite the nice time driving it (and it's power/ease to reach max legal speeds), I couldnt go past these (along with the weird window shapes and door mechanism).
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November 27, 2013 3:28 pm
 Windmad Windmad
Sad... I don't know whether it really does deserve it or not... but I feel bad for BMW cause it looks to be a great car.
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November 27, 2013 1:13 pm
 hunker7 hunker7
Why would side airbags deploy only on the impact side? I am pretty sure they should deploy in the whole car.
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November 27, 2013 12:28 pm
 tom43 tom43
Has anyone of you checked the movie provided by EuroNCAP? You can clearly see that new carbon framework delivers outstanding rigidity and stiffness! Just look at the pole side crash: Are you aware of any other car showing that small amount of intrusion? The problem of the EuroNCAP and other tests is, that they judge the car based on the data delivered at one single impact speed. Increase the speed and you will see that the carbon framework of this car will save lives compared to so-called "5 star cars" which show only good results to a certain range of speed....this car is stiff, following that the acceleration inside the car is higher. You will observe comparable results with other carbon-fiber based cars, e.g. a formula 1 race car.
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November 27, 2013 12:21 pm
 3Iceman 3Iceman
I'm not surprised by this. After all BMW were never known to be the safest cars. Ok, they weren't bad-they were safe, but never the safest (Volvo, Mercedes). I suppose nobody buys BMW for its safety, but for its driving dynamics. Although, I might be wrong. Last generation 3, 5 and 6 series are not the best driver’s car anymore (Cadillac, Lexus). Maybe the folks in Munich changed their motto... It’s just that now they are not the safest, not the most dynamic, reliable or comfortable. Is efficiency their new motto?
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November 27, 2013 10:34 am
 Madness Madness
Not good publicity at all...
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November 27, 2013 8:44 am
 CDspeed CDspeed
4 out of 5 isn't bad, and BMW is trying completely new construction methods with this car. Like any new technology you should never expect instant perfection, but come on 4 out of 5, really, was this really worth picking on? It wasn't such a bad result that the car can't go on sale because it's a safety hazard. This sounds more like someone overly reporting flaws in an effort to damage the reputation of something they personally don't like.
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November 27, 2013 8:39 am
 tuga tuga
EuroNcap results have become really weird nowadays, since they started removing points for all sorts of little electronic devices and reminders. Now, having said that, i'm amazed at how poorly the I3 did in its pedestrian tests. It doesn't even have an engine ffs...
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November 27, 2013 8:21 am
 Scuderia-Paul Scuderia-Paul
As far as I am aware the Euro NCAP tests are more vigorous nowadays but I would have still expected the i3 to receive 5*.
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November 27, 2013 8:16 am
 Bozzor Bozzor
These days, new cars from all the Top 20 manufacturers in the world - and even more so from a company like BMW - should achieve 5 stars without blinking: a real shocker of a result that BMW must rectify.
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November 27, 2013 8:11 am