BMW hits out at safety body

BMW has hit out at Euro NCAP calling the independent safety body “inconsistent” and “confusing” after its new i3 city car failed to score a five star rating.

The i3, in which BMW has invested millions, was awarded just four stars yesterday with Euro NCAP citing weak protection of the driver’s ribs, headrests that provided only marginal protection against whiplash and poor pedestrian protection for the sub-par score.

But while BMW revealed it was aware the i3 was unlikely to get five stars, BMW Australia’s general manager corporate communications Lenore Fletcher toldWheels the score proves the NCAP system needs an overhaul.

“There are ongoing issues with NCAP, definitely,” she said. “Recent years has seen big changes to NCAP requirements – what may have been a five star car two years ago is now a four star car.

“It just makes it confusing for the consumer, plus there’s a difference in the requirements between Europe and Australia which makes it even more difficult to understand. What is a four star car in Europe may be a five star car here.

“So what we need is a level playing field and parity not just across the world but from year to year.”

Fletcher added that despite its four star rating, BMW has no plans to challenge NCAP’s results.

“We’re confident in our safety record and we have no evidence that it won’t score a five star rating in Australia,” she said. “It’s got so much new technology we’re confident it’ll score well. Plus the i3 has safety functions NCAP testing doesn’t even take into consideration like our emergency call system and pedestrian warning with auto braking. So we’re completely confident in the i3, particularly with its carbonfibre monocoque chassis.”

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!