Top Safety Pick

2018 BMW 3 series

midsize luxury car / 4-door sedan

Award applies only to vehicles with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights; applies only to 4-door sedans

2018 BMW 3 series 4-door sedan
2017 BMW 3 series shown

Crashworthiness

Rating overview
Small overlap front: driver-side
Moderate overlap front
Side
Roof strength
Head restraints & seats

Crash avoidance & mitigation

Headlights (varies by trim/ option)
Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle
Optional system
Advanced
Optional system
Basic

Child seat anchors

LATCH ease of use

Other available safety features

  • Standard daytime running lights
  • Optional blind spot detection
  • Optional lane departure warning

Key

  • G
    Good
  • A
    Acceptable
  • M
    Marginal
  • P
    Poor
  • Superior
  • Advanced
  • Basic

Some ratings use a scale of Poor to Good. Others range from Basic to Superior.

Small overlap front: driver-side

Rating applies to 2017-18 models built after November 2016

Tested vehicle: 2017 BMW 330i 4-door

The BMW 3 series sedan was redesigned for the 2012 model year. For the 2016 model year, a front suspension change was made to better control wheel movement during small overlap frontal crashes. The change, however, wasn't enough to improve the car's performance in the small overlap test.

Beginning with 2017 models built after November 2016, BMW made further changes to the suspension and modified the adjoining structure. Wheel movement was much better controlled and the car's performance in the small overlap test was greatly improved. (Information about when a specific vehicle was manufactured is on the certification label typically affixed to the car on the driver door or adjacent B-pillar.)

Overall evaluation
Structure and safety cage
Driver injury measures
Head/neck
Chest
Hip/thigh
Lower leg/foot
Driver restraints and dummy kinematics

Action shot taken during the small overlap frontal crash test.

The dummy's position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver's survival space was maintained well.

The frontal and side curtain airbags worked well together to keep the head from coming close to any stiff structure or outside objects that could cause injury.

Forces on the right lower leg were just high enough to indicate a moderate risk of injury.

Technical measurements for this test

Measures of occupant compartment intrusion on driver side

Test ID CEN1639
Lower occupant compartment
Lower hinge pillar max (cm) 5
Footrest (cm) 16
Left toepan (cm) 11
Brake pedal (cm) 12
Parking brake (cm)
Rocker panel lateral average (cm) 1
Upper occupant compartment
Steering column 0
Upper hinge pillar max (cm) 3
Upper dash (cm) 3
Lower instrument panel (cm) 3

Driver injury measures

Test ID CEN1639
Head
HIC-15 549
Peak gs at hard contact no contact
Neck
Tension (kN) 1.4
Extension bending moment (Nm) 22
Maximum Nij 0.42
Chest maximum compression (mm) 19
Femur (kN)
Left 3.4
Right 3.4
Knee displacement (mm)
Left 4
Right 4
Knee-thigh-hip injury risk (%)
Left 1
Right 1
Maximum tibia index
Left 0.65
Right 0.82
Tibia axial force (kN)
Left 3.4
Right 4.2
Foot acceleration (g)
Left 140
Right 68

How the driver-side small overlap front test is conducted

Moderate overlap front

Rating applies to 2012-18 models

Tested vehicle: 2012 BMW 328i 4-door

The BMW 3 series sedan was redesigned for the 2012 model year. Moderate overlap frontal ratings are assigned by the Institute based on a test conducted by BMW as part of frontal crash test verification.

Overall evaluation
Structure and safety cage
Driver injury measures
Head/neck
Chest
Leg/foot, left
Leg/foot, right
Driver restraints and dummy kinematics
Technical measurements for this test

Measures of occupant compartment intrusion on driver side

Test ID VTF1118
Footwell intrusion
Footrest (cm) 4
Left (cm) 4
Center (cm) 3
Right (cm) 1
Brake pedal (cm) 2
Instrument panel rearward movement
Left (cm) 0
Right (cm) 0
Steering column movement
Upward (cm) 0
Rearward (cm) -5
A-pillar rearward movement (cm) 0

Driver injury measures

Test ID VTF1118
Head
HIC-15 132
Peak gs at hard contact 15
Neck
Tension (kN) 1.1
Extension bending moment (Nm) 8
Maximum Nij 0.20
Chest maximum compression (mm) 26
Legs
Femur force - left (kN) 1.4
Femur force - right (kN) 1.7
Knee displacement - left (mm) 1
Knee displacement - right (mm) 2
Maximum tibia index - left 0.38
Maximum tibia index - right 0.30
Tibia axial force - left (kN) 3.2
Tibia axial force - right (kN) 3.3
Foot acceleration (g)
Left 60
Right 61

How the moderate overlap front test is conducted

Side

Rating applies to 2012-18 models

Tested vehicle: 2012 BMW 335i 4-door with standard front and rear head curtain airbags and standard front seat-mounted torso airbags

The BMW 3 series sedan was redesigned for the 2012 model year. Side ratings are assigned by the Institute based on a test conducted by BMW as part of side crash test verification.

Overall evaluation
Structure and safety cage
Driver injury measures
Head/neck
Torso
Pelvis/leg
Driver head protection
Rear passenger injury measures
Head/neck
Torso
Pelvis/leg
Rear passenger head protection
Technical measurements for this test

Measures of occupant compartment intrusion on driver side

Test ID VTS1120
B-pillar to longitudinal centerline of driver's seat (cm) -16.5
Negative numbers indicate the amount by which the crush stopped short of the seat centerline.

Driver injury measures

Test ID VTS1120
Head HIC-15 323
Neck
Tension (kN) 1.2
Compression (kN) 0.2
Shoulder
Lateral deflection (mm) 41
Lateral force (kN) 1.8
Torso
Maximum deflection (mm) 40
Average deflection (mm) 36
Maximum deflection rate (m/s) 3.37
Maximum viscous criterion (m/s) 0.72
Pelvis
Iliac force (kN) 2.8
Acetabulum force (kN) 1.7
Combined force (kN) 4.5
Left femur
L-M force (kN) 0.3
L-M moment (Nm) 157
A-P moment (Nm) 64

Passenger injury measures

Test ID VTS1120
Head HIC-15 125
Neck
Tension (kN) 0.4
Compression (kN) 0.2
Shoulder
Lateral deflection (mm) 14
Lateral force (kN) 0.8
Torso
Maximum deflection (mm) 21
Average deflection (mm) 17
Maximum deflection rate (m/s) 1.69
Maximum viscous criterion (m/s) 0.18
Pelvis
Iliac force (kN) 1.2
Acetabulum force (kN) 0.6
Combined force (kN) 1.8
Left femur
L-M force (kN) 0.5
L-M moment (Nm) 128
A-P moment (Nm) 44

How the side crash test is conducted

Roof strength

Rating applies to 2012-18 models

Tested vehicle: 2012 BMW 335i 4-door

Overall evaluation
Curb weight 3,516 lbs
Peak force 17,527 lbs
Strength-to-weight ratio 4.98

How the roof strength test is conducted

Head restraints & seats

Seat type: Power leather seats

Overall evaluation
Dynamic rating
Seat/head restraint geometry
Technical measurements for this test
Seat type Power leather seats
Geometry
Backset (mm) 44
Distance below top of head (mm) 23
Seat design parameters
Pass/fail Pass
Max T1 acceleration (g) 11.9
Head contact time (ms) 68
Force rating 1
Neck forces
Max neck shear force (N) 51
Max neck tension (N) 631

How the head restraint & seat test is conducted

Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle

Ratings are given for 2 different trim variations available on this vehicle.

System details

  • Optional Frontal Collision Warning with City Collision Mitigation

Package name

  • Optional Driving Assistance Package

Overall evaluation

Applies to 2018 models

Advanced
Advanced
with optional equipment
  • This system meets the requirements for forward collision warning.
  • In the 12 mph IIHS test, impact speed was reduced by 7 mph.
  • In the 25 mph IIHS test, impact speed was reduced by 6 mph.

System details

  • Optional Frontal Collision Warning with Extended Collision Mitigation

Package name

  • Optional Active Cruise Control

Overall evaluation

Applies to 2017-18 models

Basic
Basic
with optional equipment
  • This system meets the requirements for forward collision warning.
  • In the 12 mph IIHS test, impact speed was reduced by 0 mph.
  • In the 25 mph IIHS test, impact speed was reduced by 0 mph.

How front crash prevention is evaluated

Headlights

Ratings are given for 3 different headlight variations available on this vehicle.

Trim level(s)

  • 320xi trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 328d trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 320dxi trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 330e trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 330i trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 330xi trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 340i trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 340xi trim equipped with Lighting package
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? Yes
High-beam assist? Yes
Overall rating
Distance at which headlights provide at least 5 lux illumination:
car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler 0 ft 100 ft 200 ft 300 ft 400 ft 500 ft 600 ft Low beams Optimal low-beam illumination High beams Optimal high-beam illumination High-beam assist credit

Low beams
On the straightaway, visibility was fair on the right side of the road and inadequate on the left side. On curves, visibility was good on both right curves and inadequate on both left curves.

The low beams never exceeded glare limits.

High beams
On the straightaway, visibility was good on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was good on the gradual right and gradual left curves and fair on the sharp right and sharp left curves.

High-beam assist compensates for some limitations of this vehicle's low beams on the straightaway, on both left curves and on the sharp right curve.

Technical measurements for this test
Trim level(s)
  • 320xi trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 328d trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 320dxi trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 330e trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 330i trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 330xi trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 340i trim equipped with Lighting package
  • 340xi trim equipped with Lighting package
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? Yes
High-beam assist? Yes
Overall rating
Applies to 2017-18 models
LOW BEAMS Average minimum useful
illumination distance (5 lux)
Amount glare
exceeded threshold
Straightaway right edge 78.1 m None
Straightaway left edge 35.0 m None
250m radius right curve, right edge 75.2 m None
250m radius left curve, left edge 36.6 m None
150m radius right curve, right edge 60.0 m None
150m radius left curve, left edge 37.9 m None
HIGH BEAMS Average minimum useful
illumination distance (5 lux)
Straightaway right edge 175.7 m
Straightaway left edge 151.6 m
250m radius right curve, right edge 88.3 m
250m radius left curve, left edge 77.6 m
150m radius right curve, right edge 64.8 m
150m radius left curve, left edge 60.5 m

Trim level(s)

  • 328i trim equipped with Premium package
  • 330i trim equipped with Premium package
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
High-beam assist? No
Overall rating
Distance at which headlights provide at least 5 lux illumination:
car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler 0 ft 100 ft 200 ft 300 ft 400 ft 500 ft 600 ft Low beams Optimal low-beam illumination High beams Optimal high-beam illumination

Low beams
On the straightaway, visibility was inadequate on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was inadequate in all 4 tests.

The low beams never exceeded glare limits.

High beams
On the straightaway, visibility was fair on the right side of the road and inadequate on the left side. On curves, visibility was inadequate in all 4 tests.

Technical measurements for this test
Trim level(s)
  • 328i trim equipped with Premium package
  • 330i trim equipped with Premium package
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
High-beam assist? No
Overall rating
Applies to 2017-18 models
LOW BEAMS Average minimum useful
illumination distance (5 lux)
Amount glare
exceeded threshold
Straightaway right edge 73.0 m None
Straightaway left edge 21.0 m None
250m radius right curve, right edge 46.3 m None
250m radius left curve, left edge 32.0 m None
150m radius right curve, right edge 31.8 m None
150m radius left curve, left edge 28.4 m None
HIGH BEAMS Average minimum useful
illumination distance (5 lux)
Straightaway right edge 141.7 m
Straightaway left edge 90.1 m
250m radius right curve, right edge 55.5 m
250m radius left curve, left edge 50.8 m
150m radius right curve, right edge 43.8 m
150m radius left curve, left edge 43.2 m

Trim level(s)

  • 320i trim
Low-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
High-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
High-beam assist? No
Overall rating
Distance at which headlights provide at least 5 lux illumination:
car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler car-simpler 0 ft 100 ft 200 ft 300 ft 400 ft 500 ft 600 ft Low beams Optimal low-beam illumination High beams Optimal high-beam illumination

Low beams
On the straightaway, visibility was inadequate on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was inadequate in all 4 tests.

The low beams never exceeded glare limits.

High beams
On the straightaway, visibility was good on the right side of the road and inadequate on the left side. On curves, visibility was inadequate in all 4 tests.

Technical measurements for this test
Trim level(s)
  • 320i trim
Low-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
High-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
High-beam assist? No
Overall rating
Applies to 2017-18 models
LOW BEAMS Average minimum useful
illumination distance (5 lux)
Amount glare
exceeded threshold
Straightaway right edge 53.1 m None
Straightaway left edge 28.1 m None
250m radius right curve, right edge 39.3 m None
250m radius left curve, left edge 29.1 m None
150m radius right curve, right edge 31.5 m None
150m radius left curve, left edge 29.1 m None
HIGH BEAMS Average minimum useful
illumination distance (5 lux)
Straightaway right edge 145.2 m
Straightaway left edge 122.3 m
250m radius right curve, right edge 55.6 m
250m radius left curve, left edge 54.4 m
150m radius right curve, right edge 42.5 m
150m radius left curve, left edge 42.6 m

How headlights are evaluated

Child seat anchors

Applies to 2015-18 models

Overall evaluation
Vehicle trim 328xi
Seat type leather

This vehicle has 2 rear seating positions with complete child seat attachment (LATCH) hardware.

It has 1 additional seating position with a tether anchor only.

Overall evaluation
Vehicle trim 328xi
Seat type leather
1 2 3
G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor
Seating positions that rely on borrowed lower anchors or have only a tether anchor available are not rated.
thether anchor symbol
Tether anchor
lower anchor symbol
Lower anchors
shared lower achors symbol
Lower anchor(s) can be borrowed from adjacent positions(s)
No hardware available

Details by seating position

1
Tether anchor
easy-to-find location
no other hardware could be confused for anchor
Lower anchors
too deep in seat
not too much force needed to attach
difficult to maneuver around anchors
2
Tether anchor
easy-to-find location
no other hardware could be confused for anchor
Lower anchors
none available
3
Tether anchor
easy-to-find location
no other hardware could be confused for anchor
Lower anchors
too deep in seat
not too much force needed to attach
difficult to maneuver around anchors
Technical measurements for this test

Seat position 21

3

Lower anchor A
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) 15
Clearance angle (degrees) 0
Lower anchor B
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) 13
Clearance angle (degrees) 0
Tether anchor
Location Rear deck
Confusing hardware present No
Has contrasting label
within 3 inches of tether anchor
No

Seat position 22

2

Lower anchor A
No lower latch for this seat position
Lower anchor B
No lower latch for this seat position
Tether anchor
Location Rear deck
Confusing hardware present No
Has contrasting label
within 3 inches of tether anchor
No

Seat position 23

1

Lower anchor A
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) 18
Clearance angle (degrees) 0
Lower anchor B
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) 17
Clearance angle (degrees) 0
Tether anchor
Location Rear deck
Confusing hardware present No
Has contrasting label
within 3 inches of tether anchor
No

Applies to 2016-18 models

Overall evaluation
Vehicle trim 328i
Seat type leather

This vehicle has 2 rear seating positions with complete child seat attachment (LATCH) hardware.

It has 1 additional seating position with a tether anchor only.

Overall evaluation
Vehicle trim 328i
Seat type leather
1 2 3
G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor
Seating positions that rely on borrowed lower anchors or have only a tether anchor available are not rated.
thether anchor symbol
Tether anchor
lower anchor symbol
Lower anchors
shared lower achors symbol
Lower anchor(s) can be borrowed from adjacent positions(s)
No hardware available

Details by seating position

1
Tether anchor
easy-to-find location
no other hardware could be confused for anchor
Lower anchors
too deep in seat
too much force needed to attach
difficult to maneuver around anchors
2
Tether anchor
easy-to-find location
no other hardware could be confused for anchor
Lower anchors
none available
3
Tether anchor
easy-to-find location
no other hardware could be confused for anchor
Lower anchors
too deep in seat
too much force needed to attach
difficult to maneuver around anchors
Technical measurements for this test

Seat position 21

3

Lower anchor A
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) could not measure
Clearance angle (degrees) could not measure
Lower anchor B
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) could not measure
Clearance angle (degrees) could not measure
Tether anchor
Location Rear deck
Confusing hardware present No
Has contrasting label
within 3 inches of tether anchor
No

Seat position 22

2

Lower anchor A
No lower latch for this seat position
Lower anchor B
No lower latch for this seat position
Tether anchor
Location Rear deck
Confusing hardware present No
Has contrasting label
within 3 inches of tether anchor
No

Seat position 23

1

Lower anchor A
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) could not measure
Clearance angle (degrees) could not measure
Lower anchor B
Open access rated No
Depth (cm) 4-6
Force (lbs) could not measure
Clearance angle (degrees) could not measure
Tether anchor
Location Rear deck
Confusing hardware present No
Has contrasting label
within 3 inches of tether anchor
No

How child seat anchors are evaluated