I think it is more fair to say that it is a bad day for consumer safety; if you check the IIHS website, you will see that this is a new test, does not affect their 2012 Top Safety Award to BMW 3 series, and has not been performed for most new cars. My guess is that many other models will test poorly in this specific and newly designed test as well. Not that "everyone else sucks" is a good defense, but I don't see this as an indictment of BMW but the car industry in general.
The 3 series still gets top ratings for moderate overlap front, side impact, roof safety and rear crash tests, and is still a top safety pick according to IIHS. "It's a terrible day for BMW" is hyperbole.
Originally Posted by WJGreer
Agree. This is a poor showing on an important test. It's a terrible day for BMW right now; this isn't good at all.
People on BMW internet forums can rationalize the test result all day long, but it's still a crash test result where BMW performed poorly. Nothing positive about it, unless you count Audi and Mercedes coming in even worse.