Automakers, as we've learned many times over the years, tend to patent some really weird ideas. One of the latest installments of this series comes from BMW, which appears to have a wild new idea for their future three-row SUVs. CarBuzz spotted a German patent application from BMW that shows a less-flamboyant riff on the Falcon wing doors found on the Tesla Model X.
The BMW patent is for removable roof panels above the rear doors. One drawing has the roof detaching with a conventionally opened rear door. Another illustration shows the rear panel lifting upward automatically in concert with the door opening. Either method should ease entering and exiting the second and third-row seats — which is why Tesla purportedly included the Falcon wings in its inaugural SUVs.
Why would BMW want a removable roof panel? We'd suspect it has something to do with upcoming electric vehicles. The natural place to store batteries for optimal weight distribution is in the middle of the car, below the seats. If the rear seats were higher, that could make it harder to enter the cabin. A removable roof panel could be preferable to raising the car's height and affecting aerodynamics (or having goofy, theatrical Falcon wings).
Rear seat comfort and access have seldom, if ever, been a significant concern for BMW owners. And those same buyers gravitating toward swooping SUV coupés that impinge the rear seating area suggest most buyers don't care. But one could see the removable roof panel appealing to buyers of high-end chauffeur models that want easier access to the area they will be sitting.
Whatever the rationale, as a dad perpetually bonking his head on the door sill while futzing with child car seats, I wholeheartedly support the end of better rear-seat access — however weird-looking the means.