“They don’t make ‘em like they used to” – and if you ask us, that’s a good thing!
Modern cars are significantly safer than the cars of old. Just take a look at this video from ANCAP which demonstrates the difference between a 1998 Toyota Corolla and a 2015 model.
Today’s cars are absolutely packed with safety features. In particular, BMW is leading the charge, pioneering many of the advanced passive and active safety features that are starting to pop up in other car brands.
But what exactly are active and passive safety features anyway? And how do they keep you safe on the road? Luckily for you, our BMW specialists in Melbourne are here to explain the difference, and what features your BMW comes with
What “passive” safety features does my BMW have?
At Ammstar Autohaus, we’re don’t like the term “passive” safety features – not only does it fail to communicate how these features work, but it also undersells these features and their effectiveness.
A better way of describing these features would be “reactive” – specifically, these are safety features that are designed to protect you from injury and harm in the event of a crash.
Basically, they’re only passive in the sense that they don’t do anything… until you get into an accident.
For example, your BMW features…
Airbags, seatbelts and headrests
When it comes to passive safety features, airbags, seatbelts and headrests are probably the first ones that come to mind.
In addition to the now-standard dual frontal and side airbags, BMW vehicles come with extensive airbag coverage to ensure maximum safety, including:
- Curtain airbags – located directly above the doors, these airbags protect you from head injury
- Knee airbags – like the name suggests, these airbags (located underneath the dashboard) protect your lower body from impacts
- Side airbags – these deploy from the outer sides of the seats, protecting the passengers from a side impact collision
Additionally, newer models of BMW also come with sensors in the front bumper. In an instant, your car calculates the speed and force of the impact, and deploys airbags accordingly – a feature that was pioneered in the BMW 3 Series.
When people are involved in or witness a crash, many lament the fact that the front of their cars are now squashed and beyond fixing.
This isn’t the fault of bad engineering or weak materials – rather, it’s a deliberate design choice intended to keep you and your passengers safe!
The engineer’s goal when designing a car for safety is to keep everybody in the passenger area safe in the event of an accident.
Next to that, the car itself is expendable.
With this in mind, automotive engineers have designed cars to feature crumple zones. Essentially, the front of your car is designed to collapse, as this absorbs and distribute force from a frontal collision.
Additionally, the engine block is also designed in such a way that everything under the hood isn’t pushed back towards you, like it is with the 1998 Corolla in the video we linked.
Active safety features: introducing BMW Active Guard
All cars nowadays have plenty of passive safety features built-in. As a luxury brand however, BMW goes above and beyond, packing its vehicles with a range of active safety features too.
In contrast to passive safety features, active safety features are all about stopping accidents from ever occurring.
In particular, this involves the usage of several computerised and automated safety features.
That’s where Active Guard comes in. This is BMW’s suite of active safety measures that are designed to stop accidents before they ever happen!
Active Guard includes features such as…
Frontal collision warning
A standard feature on most modern BMWs, frontal collision warning uses sensors and cameras to gauge the distance between you and the car in front, as well as to identify potential obstructions in your path.
If you’re getting too close to the car in front, your BMW will provide a warning. In cases of an impending collision, your BMW will prep the brakes, and may even autonomously stop your vehicle to prevent an impact.
BMW has long featured collision detection systems in its vehicles. Nowadays, these systems are also starting to filter down to non-luxury car brands – and not a minute too soon!
Pedestrian Warning & City Braking
Let’s face it, nobody likes driving in the CBD. Constantly stopping trams, jaywalkers galore, hook turns… the mere thought of it is enough to make us shudder!
Pedestrian Warning and City Braking make use of high-resolution cameras and sensors to detect pedestrians and jaywalkers. When it detects somebody in the path of your BMW, it will:
- Give you an audible warning
- Prime the brakes for faster response
- Autonomously deploy the brakes – this is the last resort
Lane departure warning and assistance
We’ve all had moments where we’ve accidentally drifted out of our lane into the next one.
Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also embarrassing – nobody likes being on the receiving end of a sharp beep!
Using sensors, your BMW will warn you when you start drifting out of your lane. If needed, it’ll also assume direct control, correcting your course and keeping you in your lane.
Don’t worry, the system will deactivate if you have your indicators on, so you don’t need to worry about your lane changes being disrupted. So not only is it safer, but hopefully it’ll also fight back against some stereotypes about BMW owners!
Why BMW maintenance is key
Road accidents are just one part of the safety equation – another is ensuring that your BMW is maintained in good working order.
In addition to maintaining each of these safety features, a BMW specialist also ensures that crucial systems are in perfect working order.
By keeping crucial systems like your brakes in prime condition and replacing tyres as they wear out, regular maintenance ensures that you’re safe on the road.
And you can’t just go to any old mechanic, either!
Many of these safety features make use of hard-to-find, proprietary parts, as well as unique service.
For example, the on-board computer that manages all of the active safety features in your BMW may require software patches – something you won’t get from a general mechanic!
Call Ammstar’s BMW specialists in Melbourne
Looking for a specialist BMW mechanic? Don’t want to shell out for dealership service?
There’s good news: the dealership isn’t the only BMW specialist in Melbourne!
Ammstar Autohaus offers an alternative to dealership servicing. Our experience with luxury German brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and VW means that you’ll receive the best possible service from a team of mechanics that genuinely know their stuff.
What’s more, we endeavour to provide you with the best value for money thanks to our use of high-quality OEM parts, as well as complimentary wash and vacuum and loan cars.
Our team will also walk you through exactly what service your BMW needs, telling you upfront what’s urgent, and what you can delay – this allows you to decide how much you spend on your BMW service.
Alternatively, feel free to visit us in-person at our Cheltenham workshop – we’re based at 228 Centre Dandenong Road, just down the road from DFO Moorabbin.