Euro NCAP said the results showed that manufacturers are rising to the challenges set by its stricter testing programme. The safety organisation highlighted a particular improvement in pedestrian safety.
The BMW 3 Series was by far the best in this area despite not having an active bonnet that rises slightly to cushion an impact with a score of 78%. However, the Peugeot only just cleared the 60% five-star pedestrian protection threshold with 61%, while the Hyundai scored 67% and the Mazda 64%.
Euro NCAP also singled out the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems on the BMW and the Mazda. This technology autonomously applies the vehicle's brakes if onboard computers sense that a collision is likely.
Dr Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP said: 'If all cars were fitted with AEB systems, many crashes could be mitigated or avoided altogether.'
NCAP announced it intends to incorporate testing such systems into future crash-assessment procedures.
The examiners also revealed that Audi has received the Euro NCAP Advanced reward for its Pre Sense front plus' technology available on the new Audi A6 which detects cars in front through a series of radar sensors. It then acts to lessen the impact or prevent accidents where necessary.