I am fortunate enough to be living in Europe, the last bastion of wagons. The long-roof formula remains popular on the Old Continent, so much so that I’m spoiled for choice since there’s great variety. BMW did the math and decided it was worth launching another 5 Series Touring. However, the G61 is not as practical as it could have been since it has lost one handy feature.
Ever since the original E34 Touring, including the uber-rare M5 pictured below, the 5 Series wagon has allowed owners to open the rear glass independently of the tailgate. It’s particularly useful for when you quickly want to throw small stuff in the cargo area without having to open the entire tailgate. Well, you won’t be able to do that anymore with the new 5er estate since that feature is sadly now gone.
The E34, E39, E61, F11, and the G31 all had it, but the lineage ends with the G61. Why? Here’s what Alexander Schmuck, Product & Technology Communications Manager at BMW North America, told us:
“The reason for the rear window not opening separately has to do with the lean, sporty, aerodynamically design of the rear end of the vehicle and the sloping roofline. Including a mechanism for opening the window separately in the tailgate would have been at the expense of interior volume in the trunk area.”
Ok, so the official answer from BMW is that installing the necessary extra hardware would’ve eaten into the cargo area. That does make sense but we’re certain it’s a sacrifice some people would have been willing to make. After all, the new 5 Series Touring has a cavernous luggage area that can swallow 570 liters (20.1 cubic feet) or 1,700 l (60 cu ft) after folding the rear seats.
While on some cars on sale today practicality takes a hit depending on the powertrain, that’s not the case with the latest wagon from Bavaria. All gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and electric versions offer an identical sized luggage compartment. It has the exact same length, width, and height.
Of course, one must wonder whether part of the reason why it’s been dropped has to do with cost cutting. It’s a plausible explanation considering it hasn’t exactly been a popular feature, so why bother? In fact, the latest 3 Series Touring almost didn’t have it. The car’s Product Manager Stefan Horn told Autocar in 2019 when the G21 came out that BMW engineers had to convince the higher-ups from Munich to keep the independent glass opening:
“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.”
Fast forward to 2024, it’s dead. Well, in the 5 Series Touring. The smaller wagon – including the M3 Touring – still has this party trick at the back. The older E46, E91, and F31 generations had it as well.
Chances are deleting that small button at the base of the rear wiper is unlikely to be a deal-breaker for those who are interested in the new 5 Series Touring. With a new M5 wagon (G99) on the way, potentially to the United States as well if the rumor mill is accurate, the new 5er wagon is a desirable car. Those planning to switch to an EV can now buy the i5, complete with a sporty M Performance version called i5 M60.
Photos: BMW, nakhon100