Safety of the Highest Standard: MINI Cooper receives Five Stars in the Euro NCAP Crash Test.
BMW Press Release – Munich – 4/20/2007
Non-partisan testers confirm highly effective, all-round occupant safety in the new MINI. The new MINI is not only one of the most fascinating, but also one of the safest cars in its segment. So it is no surprise that the new MINI’s highly effective passive safety system has now been confirmed by the highest possible score in the Euro NCAP Crash Test: The new MINI Cooper has received five stars for its superior safety, clearly proving that this small premium car offers the high standards of the BMW Group also in the area of occupant safety and guarantees maximum safety all round despite its compact dimensions.
In the Euro NCAP Crash Test the new MINI Cooper achieved outstanding results in both the head-on and the side-on/pillar crash, the risk of injury to occupants of the new MINI Cooper being deemed very small indeed in all cases.
The testers gave the new MINI Cooper 13 out of 16 points for the car’s deformation behaviour in a head-on collision, and 16 out of 18 points in the side-on and pillar collision, which are both rated together as one category. Child safety in the new MINI Cooper also showed an above-average result, and is therefore likewise regarded as exemplary.
This outstanding overall result is attributable to the MINI’s superior all-round safety concept extending from the structure of the body with its carefully defined deformation zones and the extremely stiff passenger cell all the way to the restraint systems masterminded by electronic control units.
Like all other variants of the new MINI generation, the new MINI Cooper comes as standard with six airbags, three-point inertia-reel seat belts on all four seats, and ISOFIX child seat fastening systems at the rear. Both the driver and front passenger are protected by frontal airbags as well as airbags at the side. The side airbags are integrated in the side supports on the front seats and offer effective protection from thorax injury.
The extra-large curtain head airbags inflating out of the roof lining whenever required offer both the front and rear passengers protection from head injury. The seat belts on the front seats, finally, are equipped additionally with belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters.
These active restraint elements (belt latch tensioners, airbags) are masterminded by a central electronic safety system. The direction of an impact and its severity are determined by crash sensors housed in the B-pillars and at a central point in the underfloor of the car, the data provided in this way serving in each case to activate the appropriate restraint and safety systems with an optimum effect tailored to specific crash conditions.
The new MINI is also equipped with belt telltales on all seats indicating whether the belts are in use. Another optical signal comes on as soon as the front passenger’s airbag has been deactivated, for example when fitting a child seat at the front next to the driver.
Receiving the best possible result of five stars in the Euro NCAP Crash Test, the new MINI Cooper once again confirms the high standard of safety in the development of BMW Group cars. The NCAP (New Car Assessment Pro-gramme) testing procedure is acknowledged as one of the most demanding tests required of new cars the world over. The Euro NCAP Test is indeed a benchmark for crash safety acknowledged throughout Europe by govern-ments, car clubs and consumer protection organisations. Comparable NCAP Crash Tests are carried out in the USA and Japan.
The most important highlights of the Euro NCAP Crash Test are the frontal and side-on collision under exactly defined conditions. In the so-called offset frontal crash the vehicle hits a deformable barrier at a speed of 64 km/h or 40 mph with 40 per cent of its frontal width. Under such conditions the colli-sion forces act on only part of the car’s frontal area, while impact energy must be spread out and absorbed as completely as possible throughout the entire width of the car.
The new MINI ensures precisely this effect by diverting and absorbing the forces acting on the car along load paths defined in advance. To make this possible, the load-bearing structures on the floorpan, side walls, bulkhead, frontal section, rear section and the roof, as well as the dimensions and po-sitions of the car’s crash boxes, have been exactly coordinated and harmo-nised as one complete system. The most important objective in providing this configuration is to maintain the full shape and dimensions of the pas-senger cell as a survival area also in a severe collision.
This also applies to the requirements in a side-on collision simulated in the Euro NCAP Crash Test by impacting a deformable barrier at a speed of 50 km/h or 31 mph. As an additional test scenario, this specific test includes a side impact by the car against a steel post at a speed of 29 km/h or 18 mph, the post measuring 25 centimetres or almost 1″ in diameter at the level of the occupant’s head centrepoint. Again, the new MINI Cooper masters this challenge with exemplary results in terms of uncritical deformation and minimum risk of injury.
In order to reduce the risk of collision, active safety was given particular significance from the start in developing the new MINI, over and above passive safety. The highly effective brake system complete with anti-lock brakes, a Brake Assistant, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD) in the new MINI Cooper may be supple-mented as an option by on-demand traction control (ASC+T) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) complete with uphill start-off assistance.
All variants of the new MINI are furthermore equipped with a Tyre Defect Indicator permanently measuring tyre pressure by comparing the speed of the car’s wheels. The driver is then warned automatically by an optical signal once air pressure in a specific tyre deviates from the normal pressure by more than 30 per cent, thus being made aware in good time of any sudden, excessive loss of pressure. Clearly, this significantly reduces the risk of an accident resulting from a flat or defective tyre.
As yet a further important safety feature, all variants of the new MINI are available as an option with runflat tyres allowing the driver to continue even on a completely flat tyre. Indeed, this feature even comes as standard on the MINI Cooper S.