BMW Would Like You to Know About the 3 Series Wagon's Greatest Feature

All image credits: BMW
All image credits: BMW

The great tragedy of 2019 is knowing that we won’t get the 2020 BMW 3 Series wagon here in the United States. It’s objectively uncool, especially when I just learned the 3 Series wagon’s rear window can pop open.


If I were to be callused and jaded, I’d say this doesn’t matter to me in the slightest, since it’s a feature on a car I’ll never see in my home country. But it’s a very neat little feature nonetheless and I want my European friends to know about it in order to maximize the use they can get out of their wagon.


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Apparently, BMW’s engineers had to “fight to retain” the wagon’s independently opening rear window because “not enough owners know about it,” reports Autocar after speaking with a BMW product manager.

He told the outlet:

“It’s a bit of a hidden thing. We argued we should keep it – but we need customers to know about it, or it will die.”

You might ask, why? Why would anyone need this? To which I’d answer, why wouldn’t people need this?

Sometimes you don’t need to open the entire trunk. Sometimes you are storing something in there and you don’t want to slam the trunk door on it. Sometimes you need to retrieve something quickly. Sometimes you need to reach in there to make sure stuff doesn’t roll out before opening the main door. Sometimes you want to give your dog some air but you don’t want it leaving the car. The possibilities are endless!


Plus, because it’s a wagon, even vertically challenged people like me can make use of the independently opening rear window. If this were on an SUV, it’d be a little pointless, since I probably couldn’t adequately reach through the rear window. But the wagon is lower, so I can’t imagine I’d have much of a problem enjoying the window like everyone else does.


Honestly, I don’t know why wagons and hatchbacks don’t all have independently opening rear windows.

via Motor1



I had two E46 wagons over a span of 10 years ending just a couple weeks ago, and I used that glass ALL THE TIME on those cars. Way more than the whole hatch.

Just a few of the reasons this is a great feature:

1. Putting tires in the back - which, by the way, four tires fit PERFECTLY in the back of the car all standing on end - you could put them in, then open the glass part to stuff in a blanket or other padding, which would have been really hard to place correctly until the hatch was closed.

2. I used my wagon to go to the dump/recycling center and I would use the glass hatch to fill the back so things didn’t stick out/hang out/ fall out while loading. I could easily load the back right up to the ceiling this way, whereas my wife’s X3 I could not because things would start falling out before it was up as high as the glass, and you couldn’t otherwise get the hatch closed (no separate glass opening). This applies to packing just about anything, but was especially helpful with loose bags of trash and recycling.

3. As you said, when you have dogs in the back, you can open the glass to grab stuff or put their leashes on without risking them jumping out. Our dogs are trained well not to jump out until you say “OK” but still, it’s nice. Also, it seems silly but when they get in, they often have their tails still sticking out so I’d open the glass, reach in to help them get where they need to be, then shut the hatch THEN shut the glass.

And you’re right, you could easily reach things on the floor of the car through this glass hatch. A higher vehicle would negate this advantage (depending on your height), but it was great on an E46.