VIDEO: Infiniti Q70's IIHS Small Overlap Crash Test

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2015 Infiniti Q70 sedan a Safety Pick+ award winner after the model earned the highest rating of “good” in five crashworthiness categories: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats.

In the small overlap front test, the Infiniti Q70 maintained the driver space “reasonably well” and the crash test dummy’s movement “was properly controlled,” IIHS said. “The dummy's head hit the front airbag, which stayed in place, and the side curtain airbag provided sufficient coverage to protect the head from side structure and intruding objects. Measures taken from the dummy showed low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.”

The “good” small overlap rating applies to the 2014-15 model-year Infiniti Q70 and the 2013 Infiniti M, as the car was previously called. To view video footage of the small overlap front test, click on the photo or link above.

To qualify for Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle also must also earn a “basic,” “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention.

The 2014 Q70's optional front crash prevention system includes a forward collision warning system that meets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's criteria. However, the feature's automatic braking function “failed to reduce the vehicle's speed in track tests conducted by IIHS,” the institute said. As a result, the Q70 scored a “basic” in the front crash prevention category.

The 2015 Q70 has an upgraded system that may perform better in track tests, IIHS acknowledged, but that system hasn’t undergone IIHS tests yet.

IIHS also tested two other large sedans, but they didn’t fare as well as the Q70 in the small overlap front test. The 2015-MY Lincoln MKS drew a “poor” rating, and the BMW 5 series scored a “marginal” rating.

In front crash prevention, however, the BMW 5 series scored a “superior” rating and the Lincoln MKS drew a “basic” score. In the other crashworthiness categories, the two vehicles captured “good” scores.

The Q70 is the fourth model from Nissan/Infiniti to earn either Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2014. It is the fifth large luxury car to qualify for the 2014 Top Safety Pick+ award. The others are the Hyundai Genesis, Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, Volvo S80 and Acura RLX.

IIHS introduced the small overlap evaluation in 2012. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. The crash replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole.

A “good” or “acceptable” small overlap rating is a requirement for Top Safety Pick, along with “good” ratings in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

Tests of three other luxury cars – the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS and Lexus GS – had been planned, but the manufacturers told IIHS they are making changes to improve small overlap protection. IIHS’s policy is to wait to test a vehicle until such changes have been made if they are planned within a reasonable time frame. These models will be tested early next year.