NHTSA's new, tougher crash tests turned up two big winners but also two cars that fared poorly.
The BMW 5-series was one of only two vehicles to earn the highest possible rating in the first round of tests under a new National Highway Transportation Safety Administration testing regimen. Crash ratings now include more tests, like a new side impact test in which vehicles slide into a rigid pole. Also both "male" and "female" crash test dummies are now used.
NHTSA now also provides information on safety features cars offer, although that information does not impact the final score. Electronic stability control is a system that helps drivers maintain control during emergency maneuvers.
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