BMW Responds to Euro NCAP 4-Star Rating by Saying i3 Basically Got 5 Stars


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After netting only 4 stars overall in the Euro NCAP crash tests, BMW felt compelled to respond.

Euro NCAP Comments BMW i3 - Click to Enlarge

Euro NCAP Comments BMW i3 – Click to Enlarge

The issue, according to BMW, is that Euro NCAP places too much emphasis on areas that don’t directly relate to occupant safety.  Euro NCAP would argue that all of its tests relate to safety, be it of the occupant or a pedestrian or of safety assist features that are lacking in the i3.

We understand BMW’s argument, but what’s fair for all automakers is fair for BMW.  So, the i3 still scores 4 stars overall, regardless of how safe the automaker says its vehicle is in terms of occupant safety.

Notice in the press release below that BMW makes no mention of the 4-star rating?  Instead, BMW focuses on only the areas in which the i3 got 5 stars.  Further note that BMW could make a few simple changes (a seatbelt reminder for rear seats and some hood tweaking to up the safety assist and pedestrian safety scores) to get to 5 stars, but we doubt the automaker will.

Here’s BMW’s response to the Euro NCAP’s 4-star rating for the i3:

Avoiding accidents, optimum protection, summoning help quickly: The integral safety concept of the BMW i3. The BMW Group’s first series production electric car earns top ratings for occupant protection and child protection in Euro NCAP crash testing.

I3 Euro NCAP Pole After Crash

I3 Euro NCAP Pole After Crash

Munich. The BMW i3 achieved the highest rating of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests governing occupant protection and child protection that coincided with its market launch. As expected, the electric car matches the performance of the best conventionally powered vehicles in its segment in the area of passive safety. The Integral safety concept covers everything from collision avoidance to Intelligent Emergency Call and also meets requirements above and beyond Euro NCAP.

Its revolutionary new vehicle concept allows the BMW i3 to offer customers not only smile-inducing driving pleasure and outstanding environmental performance, but also top marks in terms of safety. An integral safety concept put together for the BMW Group’s first all-electric model includes everything from driver assistance systems focusing on collision avoidance, via passive safety to the Intelligent Emergency Call function – and complies with all global accident protection standards.

The aim of BMW’s integral safety concept is to achieve an optimum combination of active and passive systems that is geared to real-life traffic and accident situations. Among the active measures included as part of this concept are preventive systems which help the driver to avoid accidents. The Driving Assistant Plus system available for the BMW i3 includes both Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with braking function. Unique in the segment, this system helps – in urban traffic, in particular – to either prevent collisions or significantly reduce the intensity of the impact. Meanwhile, precisely defined load paths, generously sized deformation zones, a passenger cell whose strength allows it to serve as a survival space, and electronically controlled restraint systems with precisely interlinked functionality team up to optimise occupant protection if a crash is unavoidable. Likewise unique in this segment is the Intelligent Emergency Call function with automatic vehicle location and accident severity detection – a standard feature in the BMW i3. This system, which automatically establishes a telephone link with a call centre, thus cutting down the time it takes for the rescue services to be alerted, earned the BMW Group the special Euro NCAP Advanced Award from the European crash testing institute in 2010. As things stand, the standard testing process still does not include the Intelligent Emergency Call function in its assessments. Legal requirements stipulating the inclusion of a system of this kind in all newly registered vehicles across the EU will not come into force until 2015.

i3 Euro NCAP Frontal Crash

i3 Euro NCAP Frontal Crash

The effectiveness of all the passive safety systems in the BMW i3 was analysed during the car’s development process in numerous crash tests conducted by the BMW Group’s accident research specialists and in cooperation with independent experts. As part of this process, all the accident scenarios referred to for vehicle registration processes and consumer protection tests around the world – above and beyond Euro NCAP testing – were taken into account, including an impact by another vehicle against the rear of the BMW i3 and a roll-over situation.

An extremely rigid passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and the precise interplay of its restraint systems allowed the BMW i3 to record outstanding results for adult occupant and child occupant protection in the Euro NCAP crash test. The testers noted an exceptionally low risk of injury in both front and side impacts, as well as in the Pole Side Impact test. Particularly striking here was the low degree of deformation in the CFRP passenger cell, which also enhances the effectiveness of the restraint systems.

For more on the BMW i3’s Euro NCAP test results, click here.

Categories: BMW, Crashed EVs

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10 Comments on "BMW Responds to Euro NCAP 4-Star Rating by Saying i3 Basically Got 5 Stars"

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Bean counters vs engineers. Guess who won? Penny pinching lost this vehicle a star.


I disagree. The i3 isn’t built cheap (carbon fiber throughout? wow), and did indeed very well when it comes to occupants safety, so I’m sure that the beancounters would have had no problem adding whatever “safety assist” gizmo was needed to tick the right checkboxes and score more, easy points in this category.

Most likely this aspect of NCAP simply got overlooked or its importance miscalculated… by engineers.


Your position is that after spending on high cost composites and mfg processes, BMW execs didn’t find ways to cut corners to help lower their per unit expense via safety features they knew were needed to obtain the highest possible testing scores? And that their engineers, whose job it is to meet any and all safety criteria in every vehicle with the BMW badge on it, were directly to blame?



“according to BMW, is that Euro NCAP places too much emphasis on areas that don’t directly relate to occupant safety.”

Do we know the weighting?


BMW. The ultimate driving machine. The ultimate safety machine? — meh, not so much.


Sounds like BMW is acting like a sore loser, I think they are not used to it, especially when a Chevy beats them.


It is a shame for BMW. They did know the NCAP Test for Years.

A car with twice the price tag as a Renault ZOE just got 4 Stars. ZOE got 5. It can not be money which stopps BMW to implement some few cent features like “belt warning” and other NCAP neccessary stuff for getting 5 Stars.

But much worse is the lower Adult Occupant safety than Renault ZOE or even VW-eUP !

Here the values for Adult Occupant Safety ( The two front seats/persons in a front and side crash)
-> This is mechanic and shows the stability of the car !!

BMW i3 13.6
VW-UP 14.2
ZOE 15.6
Mitsubishi iMiev 9.9 (buuuhhh)
Ampera/Volt 11.6
Leaf 13.6

“Old fossil cars compared”

BMW 3er 15.8
BMW X3 14.6
Ford B-Max 14.7
Volvo V60 14.3
VW Golf 15.9
Mercedes A-Class 14.8
Audi A3 15.4
Dacia Lodgy 10.7
Mazda CX-5 14.1
Range Rover Evoque 12.4
Mercedes E-Klasse 13.9



The Values are just for front crash.

The complete Adult Occupant Safety Values ( Frontcrash and side crash ) are in Percent

BMW i3 86%
LEAF 89%
ZOE 89%
VW e-UP 89%

Jouni Valkonen

New Volvo already has a pedestrian airbag that softens the impact. It might not be long that without autobraking and pedestrian airbags it is impossible to receive five star safety rating.

Volvo V40 Pedestrian Airbag


I like the Hellboy System better 🙂