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2011 safest cars announced: Is your dream car a top pick?

A total of 66 cars were designated the 2011 safest cars, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced Wednesday. They include 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and one minivan, which “do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes,” the institute says. Here are the 2011 safest cars, listed alphabetically by automaker. Did your dream car make the cut?

By , Staff writer

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This March 17 file photo shows a BMW logo being cleaned in Munich, Germany. Luxury automaker BMW saw its 5 Series sedan named one of the 2011 safest cars by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Joerg Koch/AP/File

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BMW

Top pick:

BMW 5 series

The 2011 BMW 5 Series sedan earned the top rating in each of the institute’s crash tests, making the car officially one of the 2011 safest cars. With last year's addition of new criteria for roof crush, the test ratings now cover all four of the most common kinds of crashes. By raising the bar on roof performance, which is critical in rollovers, many of last year’s winners no longer qualified as a top pick for car safety. But manufacturers made design changes and introduced new models that more than doubled the number of top pick vehicles. “This award demonstrates that we left no stone unturned in the development of the all-new 2011 5 Series Sedan,” Jim O’Donnell, president of BMW of North America, said in a statement.

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