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The 2021 BMW X5 is a midsize luxury SUV that Consumer Reports loves. It even called it “one of the best vehicles we’ve ever tested.” So why didn’t the IIHS award it a Top Safety Pick? Let’s look at whether the 2021 BMW X5 is safe. 

A 2021 BMW X5 drives at night.
2021 BMW X5 | BMW

To be awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick award, an SUV must score a good rating in all IIHS crash test ratings. These include the driver-side small overlap front, the passenger-side small overlap front, and the moderate overlap front. Additionally, the vehicle must get a good score in the side crash tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. To get a Top Safety Pick+ award, the vehicle must ace all these tests.

The SUV must also have an advanced or superior in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Headlights must have a good or acceptable rating available. Oftentimes one trim level has good headlight ratings while another trim level does not, so it’s important to check the test results of the trim level you’re considering purchasing. To receive the Top Safety Pick+ award, the headlights on all trim levels must be good or acceptable. 

How were the BMW X5’s crash test ratings?

All of the small overlap front: driver side crash test ratings were good. The IIHS tests different models and trims, so if you’re considering buying a 2021 BMW X5, make sure you look at which trim and model the IIHS tested. 

Additionally, all of the small overlap front: passenger side tests were good. These include the overall evaluation, structure and safety cage, passenger injury measures, passenger restraints and dummy kinematics, driver injury measures, and driver restraints and dummy kinematics. 

The 2021 moderate overlap front test ratings were also all good. The side crash test ratings in the 2021 BMW X5 are also all good. 

How is the 2021 BMW X5’s roof weight and head restraints?

A BMW X5 is being crash tested. The front of the car is smashed into a barrier.
BMW X5 being crash tested | IIHS

If you’re into numbers, the roof’s curb weight is 4,825 and the peak force is 25,368. The strength-to-weight ratio is 5.26. This is better than the minimum required for a good rating, which is 4. The IIHS determines what the strength-to-weight ratio is by crushing the vehicle by five inches. The amount of force it takes to do that is the resulting score. This is important in the event of a rollover; you don’t want the roof to give in easily. 

Head restraints and seat ratings are all good in the 2021 BMW X5. This includes the overall evaluation as well as the dynamic rating and seat/head restraint geometry. These are important because neck injuries and whiplash are common car accident injuries. 

How is the BMW X5’s crash prevention?

A BMW X5 is being crash tested. The front of the car is smashed and the airbags deployed.
A BMW X5 being crash tested | IIHS

The IIHS rated two different BMW X5 trims’ advanced safety systems. The standard Active Driving Assistant and the optional Active Driving Assistant Professional both got a superior rating.

Unfortunately, the headlight ratings for some of the 2021 BMW X5 trim levels were poor. This precludes the X5 from being given a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award. It’s too bad, because all of the other ratings are so good. There are trim levels with good headlights ratings, so the 2021 BMW X5 is still a solid choice, as long as you choose your trim carefully. 


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