Very few midsize luxury and near-luxury cars evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earned good or acceptable ratings. The Acura TL and Volvo S60 earned good ratings, while the Infiniti G earned an acceptable rating in the overlap frontal crash test. The Acura TSX, BMW 3-series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC earned marginal ratings. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 earned poor ratings.
This is an important test because, according to the IIHS, this type of crash accounts for nearly 25% of the frontal crashes involving serious or fatal injury to front seat occupants.
In the test, 25% of a car's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot tall rigid barrier at 40mph. A 50th percentile male dummy is belted in the driver seat. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or object.
A car's edges are generally not well protected by crush-zone structures. This is because crash forces go directly into the front wheel, suspension system and firewall. This test appears to be one of the most important tests for a vehicle's safety as it more closely resembles a crash in the real world. These results are scary, but any changes to these vehicles would take 5-10 years to implement which is even scarier.
It appears that buying a luxury car does not necessarily ensure one's safety.