BMW iX3 Aces Euro NCAP’s New Highway Assist Tests, Polestar 2 and IONIQ 5 Can’t Keep Up

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Not all highway assist systems are created equal, and it might surprise some of you to learn that the BMW X3’s electrified brother, the iX3, has just topped the likes of the Mustang Mach-E, Cupra Formentor and even the high-tech Polestar 2 and Hyundai IONIQ 5, when it comes to driving autonomously on the freeway.

The iX3 was graded as ‘Very Good’ by Euro NCAP during the organization’s latest Assisted Driving tests, while the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Cupra Formentor received ‘Good’ ratings. Meanwhile, the Polestar 2 and IONIQ 5 could only manage ‘Moderate’ grades, while the Toyota Yaris and Opel Mokka-e barely even qualified with their ‘Entry’ level systems.

Highway Assist systems are tasked with helping drivers maintain a pre-determined speed, as well as a safe distance from the car in front while staying in the center of the lane. They manage all that by combining features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Lane Centering (LC).

So how come the BMW iX3 did so well, you ask? Although it’s based on the X3, the iX3 features a new sensor set that isn’t yet available for its internal combustion engine-powered sibling. As for the likes of the Polestar 2 with its ‘Moderate’ grading, the Swedish premium EV was actually limited by its performance in Vehicle Assistance – thankfully an OTA update will be sent out very soon.

We should point out that such systems are not designed to take over for the driver completely, but rather to assist him or her during longer journeys. Drivers are still expected to always keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

“This balance between assistance and engagement is crucial. Cars are not yet capable of fully automated driving and drivers should not be misled into thinking that they are. Reports from America have highlighted the very serious problems that can happen when people have an unrealistically high expectation of what such systems can offer, and when the car in which they are driving does not actively try to get them back in the loop. We are pleased that the manufacturers represented in this round of tests make clear the level of support that they can provide,” stated Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general.