They'd work beautifully on the X8 M and iX M.
Patent filings often showcase the best automotive ingenuity around. That's definitely the case for BMW. CarBuzz has discovered a new patent filing from the company for a revolutionary new type of door that could find a home on the new BMW X8, or XM as rumors suggest it might be called, or even an updated version of the BMW X7.
It appears to be a falcon door design, though not as extreme as the rear doors found on the Tesla Model X.
The drawings clearly show a large SUV with three rows. In one sketch, a portion of the roof opens with the door, while the other sketch shows a part of the roof lifting upwards once the rear door is opened.
Why? According to the patent, it's to facilitate access to the car. By removing a portion of the roof, passengers can get to the rear center seat easier. Gaining access to the third row should also be less of a hassle with more headroom.
We believe this will likely be implemented in BMW's future Neue Klasse platform cars with electrification in mind. The reason we believe this is the way the patent is phrased. This layout leaves more usable space for an energy-storing device. In this case, the word "batteries" is used.
Another exciting configuration mentioned in the patent is rearward facing seats. The patent claims that these door extensions will make it easier to access a row of seats in front of the front-facing seats directly next to the rear passenger door. This could point towards plans for BMW to build a three-row limo-style SUV to compete with, and possibly outgun, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS.
Interestingly, the patent mentions two configurations. In one scenario, the door can be opened with the cutout in place. In another design, the roof panel can be detached from the door and opened upwards instead. As mentioned in the patent, this requires a complex mechanism that increases the vehicle weight.
According to the patent, the idea is that the cutout will open in a synchronized movement with the rear passenger door. The opening mechanism can be driven mechanically, hydraulically, or electrically.
In short, BMW filed a patent for a new kind of door with a cutout on top. We know it will be a high-end car because one of the main reasons cited is the ease of access. The mechanism also seems quite elaborate, as it will have to be synchronized with the rear doors, and it will likely need sonar to keep it from banging into a roof.
Secondly, the patent mentions additional storage space for batteries. The rumor mill suggests the X8 M will use BMW's famous twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 in hybrid format, good for 750 hp. The first spy shot of the X8 M emerged earlier this year, and it doesn't appear to have roof cutouts. It could just be the camouflage, however. The cutouts are also missing from all the iX images we've seen so far, but perhaps BMW is keeping them in reserve for the inevitable iX halo model?