The German automaker is refining even the windows on its future cars.
BMW is one of the world's biggest and best automakers, but one doesn't get there (or, indeed, stay there) without constantly looking for ways to evolve and get better. Sure, not everyone will be a big fan of everything that an automaker does - BMW XM, we're looking at you and we really wish we hadn't - but that doesn't mean that a car company should just rest on its laurels and only give us that which is already proven to work. Recently, we've uncovered innovative new inventions like falcon doors for SUVs, but there's even more exciting technology coming to the Bimmers of the future. Thanks to patent documents filed in Germany, CarBuzz can exclusively report that something as banal and conventional as the window is set to be radically redesigned.
The patent refers to a frameless window, but not just any frameless window - perfectly flush frameless windows. If you're struggling to conceptualize it, think of how a panoramic sunroof looks when closed, running flush with the roof. Now imagine that concept for side windows that run flush with the door panel.
According to the documentation, the existing design of frameless windows allows for too much of a "wide seal" between the glass and the nearest panels, a gap that is clearly visible. BMW wants to change this and close the gap, and the solution that it has come up with suggests moving the window up from its channel and out of the door to the closed position. Once it gets there, the bottom of the window can be detached from the mechanisms that hold it in place and move outwards, creating an even tighter shut line. Naturally, this requires various failsafe systems to work well.
The filing indicates a separate glass "outer pane" that would be fixed to the roof. This could act as a sort of built-in wind deflector that would allow the actual window to offer a recessed opening at the top without letting water in when it's raining, for example. As we touched on above, the holding mechanisms (two are mentioned) can ensure that a tilted window is held in place firmly. BMW has not made any claims as to aerodynamic gains here, which allows us to surmise that the invention is based purely on aesthetics and style. The filing also makes regular mention of this system being implemented on a coupe, so this is almost certainly an invention that has the express purpose of making a car look sleeker. Essentially, it has its benefits, but it looks like a lot of overengineering for not much reward. Then again, if BMW and others didn't push their boundaries, they wouldn't be as successful.