The long-wheelbase variant of the BMW 3-Series may have been first uncovered earlier this month, but the vehicle has just gone official at the Shanghai Auto Show.
Development of the long-wheelbase BMW 3-Series took place alongside the regular 3-Series but the big difference is that the China-exclusive model has had its wheelbase extended by 11 cm (4.3-inches) and now sits at 2961 mm (116.5-inches). The BMW 3-Series long-wheelbase is 4829 mm (190-inches) long all-up, making it larger than any other vehicle in its class.
The extended wheelbase massively improves legroom by 4.3 cm for rear-seat passengers and the rear doors just so happen to be 11 cm longer than those of the regular 3-Series. BMW also designed new headrests at the rear and created a new central armrest which can fold down between the rear seats. An illuminated contour strip on the back of the front seats has also been incorporated into the expansive cabin. The 3-Series long-wheelbase has a luggage compartment that can swallow up 480 liters (126 U.S gallons) of stuff.
Elsewhere, BMW has created a panoramic glass roof for the lengthened sedan and also fitted a sports leather steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate control, and acoustic glass for the windshield to create incredible soundproofing. There is also a ‘Welcome Light Carpet’ feature of the ambient lighting system which greets the driver and passengers as they get in and out of the car. Illuminated door sill plates at the front and rear are also present.
The BMW 3-Series long-wheelbase will initially be sold exclusively in 325Li form, complete with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 184 hp and 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque. This engine is coupled with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission sending its power to the rear wheels.
To make driving the extended 3-Series as easy as possible, BMW has fitted the sedan with Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Change Warning, Rear Collision Prevention and Cross Traffic Alert, Active Cruise Control, and Stop & Go. There is also a Parking Assistant which automatically parallel parks the car.
Construction of the BMW 3-Series long-wheelbase will be handled by BMW Brilliance Automotive at its Tiexi plant in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.