Motors

Tesla Model 3 to the BMW 3 series: 8 of the safest luxury cars

Safety should be of paramount importance when driving.

Like other cars, luxury marquees, too, come with safety features. These include adaptive cruise control and rear automatic emergency braking.

Therefore, cars that come with utmost comfort also ensure that the people in them are able to avoid unforeseen incidents through multiple crash prevention systems. Additionally, the sturdy body of the car and other safety systems, such as airbags, save the lives of those inside the vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are two of the world’s most reputed organisations that rate the safety of cars. While the NHTSA is a government body under the United States Department of Transportation, the IIHS is an independent non-profit, which describes its work as “dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from motor vehicle crashes” through everything, from research to education of safety professionals.

Meanwhile, the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP), which is a UK-registered charity, works towards the worldwide adoption of the United Nations’ motor vehicle safety standards.

These bodies have a range of tests designed to check the crash safety level of vehicles and the in-built safety features to protect occupants from a collision. A series of crash safety tests, such as frontal crash safety tests, are run on cars with dummies to evaluate the damage to the vehicle and the occupants. While the NHTSA has a rating system from one to five stars, the IIHS rates specific test outcomes from ‘Poor’ to ‘Good’ and ‘Basic’ to ‘Superior’.

Here are some of the world’s safest luxury cars currently on roads

BMW 3 series

Image credit: BMW/@BMW/Twitter

The 2022 model of the BMW 3 series is one of the safest luxury cars in the world. The four-door mid-sized sedan offers superior vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention, according to IIHS. It also scores high in crashworthiness with regard to roof strength and overlap fronts on both driver and passenger sides, besides other areas of the car.

Barring a handful whose ratings aren’t available, all BMW 3 series vehicles have been historically rated five stars by the NHTSA since 2011.

Other than impressive scores in crash tests, the car line itself comes with an array of safety features designed to keep the vehicle secure from theft and safe while driving. These include an anti-theft alarm system, anti-lock braking system, airbags with supplemental restraint system (SRS), and front and rear head protection system.

The BMW 3 series is one of the finest luxury car marques produced by the German auto giant. The line-up includes sedans and sports cars. While speed and other technical features depend on the type of 3 series, the sedan can go 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds.

Tesla Model 3

Image credit: Tesla

NHTSA rated 11 of 13 different makes of Tesla Model 3, and all of them got five stars. In fact, the 2022 Tesla Model 3 won the Top Safety Pick+ award, the highest standard of IIHS. Therefore, there is no doubt that this mid-sized luxury electric sedan is one of the world’s safest cars.

The Model 3 is certainly among the highest-selling electric vehicles in the world today. Forbes reported in 2021 that Tesla Model 3 was the 16th best-selling car in the world for 2020 and the best-selling electric vehicle.

The car can go 0-96.5 km/h in 3.1 seconds and has a range of 576 km on a single charge. Touted as the car of the future, its autopilot comes with advanced safety and convenience features for seamless and secure driving assistance.

Acura TLX

Image credit: Acura

Acura is the luxury division of Japanese auto giant Honda and was launched in 1986. It has since become one of the most successful car brands in the world.

What makes the mid-size Acura TLX one of the safest luxury cars in the world is its extremely high score even among the winners in the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ category. There is not a single sub-category of the rating system in which Acura TLX hasn’t got the highest grade. In fact, it is one of the few luxury cars that has a G+ rating for the extra latch protection found in the 2021-22 models that were evaluated.

According to IIHS, the car has two rear seating positions with complete child seat attachment (LATCH) hardware. There is an additional secure seating position as well.

All 16 of the Acura TLX, including 2022 models, evaluated by NHTSA have five-star ratings in every category — a rarity for any car, not just luxury vehicles.

The Acura TLX comes with AcuraWatch — a safety system which includes a forward-collision warning system (FCW), lane-keeping assist system (LKAS), pedestrian detection, and collision mitigation braking system (CMBS). Other than AcuraWatch, other safety features include a blind spot information system and a surround-view camera for easy driver assistance.

Lexus ES 350

Image credit: Lexus

The Lexus ES 350 is a mid-sized sedan from Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus. The outstandingly beautiful model comes in three types — ES 350, ES 350 F Sport, ES 350 Luxury and ES 350 Ultra Luxury.

The main ES 350 model underwent a redesign in 2019 and has since remained a frontrunner among the safest luxury cars on the roads. All four of its 2019 onwards models evaluated by NHTSA are rated five stars overall. Attesting to its incredible safety features is also the Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS. The car is rated ‘Superior’ or ‘Good’ in all tests related to crashworthiness, crash avoidance and child safety in all categories by IIHS except in the vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test, where it is rated ‘Advanced’.

All the Lexus ES 350 variants come equipped with the company’s own suite of protective systems — Lexus Safety System+ 2.5. It includes features such as lane tracing assist, road sign assist, intelligent high beams, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and rear pedestrian detection. There is also what Lexus calls a Whiplash Injury Lessening system, in which front seatbacks push backwards in the event of a rear-end collision to absorb energy. The car is equipped with 10 airbags for complete protection of everyone inside.

Mercedes-Benz E-class

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz

Everything about Mercedes-Benz spells class, and the E-class is no exception. From its plush interiors to the exterior design, the E-class boasts of some of the finest machines the German company has ever built.

While the E-class range has exquisite masterpieces in design and comfort, it is also one of the world’s safest luxury cars, given its very high rating in both IIHS and NHTSA standards.

Including the 2022 make, over 20 Mercedes E-class cars are rated five stars by NHTSA in every category. Similarly, the car is rated ‘Good’ in all categories of crashworthiness tests by IIHS.

A winner of the Top Safety Pick+ award, the only feature where it is rated ‘Basic’ by IIHS is its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system. However, the same test under optimal vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system gets a ‘Superior’ rating.

Mercedes-Benz is a world leader in intelligent driving systems. As such, the E-class is loaded with innovative safety features unique to the marquee. It has a 360-degree camera, tire pressure monitoring system for all four wheels, and, most importantly, a unique Mercedes-Benz feature known as PRE-SAFE. The system is designed to protect the inner ears by reducing the noise of an accident.

Cadillac XT6

Image credit: Cadillac

The mid-sized luxury SUV is a beast of a machine. Except for LATCH use and headlights, where it is rated ‘Advanced’, the car is marked ‘Superior’ and ‘Good’ on all other tests, earning the 2022 variant the Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS.

Tests by NHTSA also prove the Cadillac XT6 is a very safe luxury car. While it gets a five-star rating overall, it has a four-star in rollover safety — which safeguards passengers to an extent when a car rolls over to its side or roof following an accident. Obviously, rollovers are extremely serious car crashes. Thus, a four-star rating is still a very high one.

The 2022 model of the Cadillac XT6 comes in three variants — Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport. Cadillac XT6 has a 3.6-litre V6 engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission and Brembo Performance front brakes.

It is equipped with hands-free driver assistance technology, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision alert among other features. There is also a rear seat reminder which informs the driver if anyone is left behind in the seat before the car is left.

Interestingly, even the 2023 Cadillac XT6 has a five-star rating from NHTSA. Apart from standard safety features, the car comes with the following distance indicator, which shows the gap time between the car and another vehicle it is following. There is also a feature that warns if a vehicle is approaching the car quickly or is in the side blind zone.

Volvo V60 Cross Country

Image credit: Volvo

IIHS awarded 11 Volvo cars across segments its Top Safety Pick+ honour in 2022. It is a testimony to the fact that almost every Volvo car is extremely safe on the road.

Volvo V60 Cross Country is one of the 11 but is one of the few that is not a sedan with a ‘Good’ rating for its headlights.

On NHTSA, the Volvo V60 variants have an overall five-star rating. All the cars evaluated by the organisation, however, got four stars in the frontal crash category.

Being a solid safety vehicle, the Volvo V60 Cross Country comes with its own range of features, including the ability to detect drifting and auto-correcting it to avoid a collision. There is also a cross-traffic alert system, which alerts the driver when reversing the vehicle with a limited view.

One of its coolest features is the head-up display (HUD), which is a common feature in advanced fighter aircraft. In HUD, indicators such as speed are displayed on the windshield or a transparent panel in line with the view of the pilot (or driver). This means that drivers don’t have to look away from the road to check vital indicators of the car.

Genesis G90

Image credit: Genesis

Genesis is the luxury vehicle division of South Korean automaker Hyundai. It is one of the younger brands in its category, as the first car was launched only in 2007, and the company was founded as Genesis Motors in 2015. Yet, Genesis cars regularly rank high among the safest luxury cars that people can drive because of their advanced engineering, innovative safety features and formidable body.

While the 2022 Genesis G70 and Genesis G80 are also winners of IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards, Genesis G90 scores better than the two when it comes to headlights. IIHS, however, points out that the lower anchors of the seat belt are “too deep in seat.”

As for the car, its sleek design immediately attracts attention with the headlights made of a two-line Micro Lens Array (MLA). Inside, the car perfectly merges analogue designs with digital features for heightened luxury with a futuristic touch.

Safety features include hands-on detection (HOD) system, which warns if the driver’s hands are not on the steering wheel, the intelligent front-lighting system and the remote smart parking assist (RSPA).

(Main and Featured images: Acura)

Manas Sen Gupta

Manas enjoys reading detective fiction and writing about anything that interests him. When not doing either of the two, he checks Instagram for the latest posts by travellers. Winter is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.

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