Video: Audi A6 and Infiniti M35 crash tests

updated 7/18/2005 7:35:06 AM ET 2005-07-18T11:35:06

Two large luxury automobiles received top ratings in frontal and side impact crash tests released by the U.S. insurance industry on Sunday.

The 2005 Audi A6 and the 2006 Infiniti M35 earned good ratings in both tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In the front crash test, vehicles strike a barrier on the driver side at 40 mph. In the side impact test, vehicles are struck with a barrier moving at 31 mph to reflect the impact by a pickup or sport utility vehicle.

The redesigned A6 improved upon its 1999 predecessor, which received an acceptable rating, the institute's second-highest mark. In the earlier test, intrusion into the front compartment near the feet contributed to the potential for leg injuries. In the 2005 model, the intrusion was minimal.

Adrian Lund, the institute's chief operating officer, said the A6, which has a base price of $42,620, was impressive in side impact tests. "All measures of injury likelihood in the side impact were low. The structural performance was good and so was head protection," he said.

The M35, which starts at $40,640, had a good overall performance in front and side crash tests and low injury measures. The vehicle has standard side air bags which are designed to protect the torsos of front seat occupants.

The vehicle received the top score in side-impact protection, but the institute found the possibility of torso injuries in real-world crashes of similar severity.

Infiniti, Nissan Motor Co.'s luxury brand, and Audi requested the tests. The institute grants them if the manufacturer reimburses them for the cost of the vehicles. More luxury vehicles are scheduled to be tested at a later date.

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