The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has put a new crop of large luxury vehicles through its crash test gauntlet, and the Cadillac CTS and Infiniti M joined some impressive company in scoring a Top Safety Pick designation. The CTS and M clinched the highly regarded award by receiving the top score of "Good" in roof strength testing. To achieve the top score in rollover safety, a vehicle's roof has to be able to support four times the weight of the entire vehicle.

The Top Safety Pick designation is handed out only to vehicles that received a "Good" score for all four IIHS crash tests while also featuring standard stability control to help avoid accidents altogether. The Cadillac and Infiniti join the BMW 5 Series, Lincoln MKS, Volvo S80, Hyundai Genesis and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class as Top Safety Pick winners.

Since large luxury vehicles cost so much and contain so many safety features, it's not all that surprising that so many models aced IIHS testing. But not all vehicles passed the test with flying colors. The Lexus GS and Audi A6 managed only an "Acceptable" score in roof testing, while the aging Acura RL lagged behind the competition with a "Marginal" rating. Hit the jump to read over the IIHS presser.


Related Gallery2011 Cadillac CTS sedan

Related Gallery2011 Infiniti M

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]
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New rollover test ratings: Two large luxury cars earn good ratings and Top Safety Pick award

The 2011 Cadillac CTS and Infiniti M37/M56 earn the top rating of good in recent roof strength tests that assess how well vehicles would protect people in rollover crashes. The Lexus GS and Audi A6, both tested as 2010 models, are rated acceptable, and the Acura RL, also a 2010, is rated marginal for rollover protection.

After the latest roof strength tests, the CTS and M37/M56 also earn the Institute's Top Safety Pick award with good ratings in all 4 Institute safety evaluations, and electronic stability control, which research shows can help drivers stay out of crashes altogether.

"The test results show that manufacturers are moving quickly to improve the rollover safety of their newest designs," says Institute president Adrian Lund.

The BMW 5 series, Hyundai Genesis, Lincoln MKS, Mercedes E class, and Volvo S80 also are Top Safety Pick winners in the large luxury class based on test results released earlier.

The Institute evaluates rollover protection using a roof strength test. In this test a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes. Good rated vehicles have roofs that can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle's weight.