BMW Streches Out, Introduces Long-Wheelbase 3-Series For China

China’s love affair with long-wheelbase sedans continues and BMW is obliging consumers with the new 3-Series Li.

Set to debut at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month, the 3-Series Li has been developed exclusively for Chinese customers and will be built in the country by BMW Brilliance Automotive.

BMW was tight-lipped on specifications, but confirmed the “extra wheelbase length goes towards creating class-leading space for the rear passengers.”  They’ll be greeted by model-specific features including front and rear comfort seats as well as a standard panoramic glass roof. Buyers will also find an ambient lighting system and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

While BMW was coy on numbers, the previous 3-Series Li had a wheelbase that was stretched by 4.3 inches (110 mm). If this continues to be the case, the 2020 3-Series Li will have a wheelbase of 116.5 inches (2959.1 mm).

Regardless of the size, BMW confirmed the model will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. There’s no word on specifics, but the US-spec 330i has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 255 hp (190 kW / 258 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque.

The 3-Series Li will be shown alongside the standard model, but BMW noted the long-wheelbase variant accounts for nearly 80 percent of 3-Series sales in China. In fact, the country is responsible for about a third of all 3-Series sales.

Besides the 3-Series, BMW will use the Shanghai Auto Show to stage the global debut of the X3 M and X4 M. Unveiled back in February, the models have a twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 473 hp (352 kW / 479 PS) and 442 lb-ft (598 Nm) of torque. It enables the crossovers to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of up to 174 mph (280 km/h).

Customers can also order Competition variants which feature an upgraded engine developing 503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS). The extra power cuts the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time to four seconds flat, while the top speed increases to 177 mph (284 km/h) with the optional M Driver’s Package.

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  • LouInPA

    Remember the good old days when you could tell the difference between a 3, 5, and 7-series? Now all morphing into same looking car.

    • Super Rob

      When I see a 5 series I’m surprised at how big it looks now. Rarely ever see a 7 series, as I can’t imagine why anyone would want something that big.

  • StrangerGP

    Ah yes, the Chinese with their long legs…

    • Knotmyrealname

      Ha! Yes, quite a lanky lot over there.

  • Benjamin B.

    Isn’t the long wheelbase 3-Series the 5-Series

    • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

      I entered to say exactly the same words

  • Toronado_II

    The agility of the car must be so poor…

  • Onur Koray

    Haven’t they shown this back in January? It’s called the 325 Li and the 2 liter turbo gives out 184 for some reason. Same with the Euro spec 320i.

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