We’ve just learned from a source that the R56 MINI scored 5 (of 5) stars in the NCAP crash test. This is an improvement by one full star from the R50/R53 MINI that was tested in 2002.

We’ve got a bit more on the Euro NCAP tests from MotoringFile safety expert Eirc Kennedy:

>The European community has its own version of the NCAP test, and just to make things confusing, it is nothing like the US version of the NCAP test. The EuroNCAP is actually conducted like the IIHS Frontal Offset test, with a 40 mph test speed and 40% overlap into a deformable barrier wall. However, unlike the IIHS test where vehicle structure is weighted into the rating system, the EuroNCAP rating system is based solely on biomechanical response from the crash test dummies. The rating system is again a star system, with 5 stars being best, 1 star being the worst.

>Despite being graded on the star-system just like US NCAP, these stars have a different meaning. Instead of rating the frontal and side impact performance with up to 5 stars, the EuroNCAP actually combines the results and releases an overall score for an adult occupant (out of 5 stars). Just to be even more confusing, the frontal and side impact tests are only good for up to 4 stars, if they are good performers, an additional vehicle can be tested for a side impact pole test at 18 mph. If it scores well in that test, the vehicle will be afforded the 5th star.

>For the EuroNCAP, the R50/R53 MINI was rated at 4 stars, with most regions of the body being afforded adequate protection in the crash (the upper leg loads and passenger chest loads were rated as having marginal protection).

>The EuroNCAP side impact program involves a 50 kph (30 mph) barrier impact into the driver’s side of a car, and an optional 29 km/h (18 mph) 90 degree pole test. The European barrier has a mass of 950 kg (2095 lbs), compared to the US NCAP side impact test of 3,015 pounds (which is at 38.5 mph) because the european vehicle fleet consists of fewer light-truck vehicles and more compact passenger cars. The pole test is conducted because it generates significantly more vehicle structure intrusion than would a vehicle impact, due to the concentration of impact forces on a much smaller region of the car.

You can also learn more about the NCAP crash test and the various procedures here.

Since the testing and scoring was just finished, there are no images or data on the NCAP site yet. So we don’t know any details other than the score and the testing was just completed. However we’ll have updates as soon as we get more information.