BMW has showcased its new BMW 3-series long-wheelbase saloon at the Beijing motor show
23 April 2012

BMW has showcased its new BMW 3-series long-wheelbase saloon at the Beijing motor show.

The new 3-series variant - available for the Chinese market only – has its wheelbase extended by 110mm compared with the standard car to substantially increase rear legroom.

The long-wheelbase model is available in BMW 335Li, the BMW 328Li, or the BMW 320Li guises and will be built in China’s new Shenyang production plant.

According to the firm, the new variant "fulfills precisely the expectations of Chinese automobile customers".

BMW has sold 80,000 cars in China in 1st three months; 37 per cent up on last year. It has also recorded 425,000 global sales in the first quarter, which is a best-ever performance from the brand.

Ian Roberston insists sales are still balanced despite Chinese growth: "China's sales performance is part of BMW's balanced, worldwide success. The first three months of 2012 have been our best start to any year globally - not just in China. We intend to continue that growth and claim the title of number oe premium car company in the world once again."

BMW has also confirmed it will open a design studio in Shanghai next month to tap into burgeoning Chinese market. The studio will include 'Connected Lab Drive' which will house a team of experts investigating Connected Drive functions, including infotainment and safety equipment. The bulk of these developments will be for Chinese markets, but this could prompt BMW to open a Chinese technology centre.

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Comments
19

10 April 2012

The Chinese certainly love their LWBs. Almost every premium saloon there is available as a long-wheelbase! I don't see the point of a LWB 3-Series though - why not just step up to a 5-Series?

10 April 2012

The long wheelbase models the Chinese get should be the default setting in the UK as well. I can't think of any car I've travelled in (Skoda Superb excepted) where there was ample rear leg room.

 

10 April 2012

[quote Fidji] I don't see the point of a LWB 3-Series though - why not just step up to a 5-Series?[/quote]

Not sure... maybe it's still cheaper and roomier than a five? Certainly saw plenty of Audi A6s (probably as many as all BMWs combined) on a recent trip to Shanghai though, so bigger cars do sell well too (in Shanghai at any rate!).

10 April 2012

[quote Leslie Brook]The long wheelbase models the Chinese get should be the default setting in the UK as well. I can't think of any car I've travelled in (Skoda Superb excepted) where there was ample rear leg room.[/quote]

Rover 75 had a LWB version.

I agree with rear leg room, last cars I can remember being comfortable with the rear legroom were a 1985 Merc 500 S-Class, a 1991 Citroen XM and a 1988 Ford Granada.

The likes of the A4 had terrible rear room, whereas high riding cars such as the Vitara tend to compensate by putting your feet below the front seat.

10 April 2012

If I close my eyes I can just about imagine it but you'd think a press pack for a LWB would include SIDE VIEW DUMMKOPF!

10 April 2012

Perhaps it doesn't because the LWB car looks rather odd from the side.

Still, the Chinese will like it.

10 April 2012

Well that's another gap in the market that BMW have filled what about a two door SWB 5 series next?i

10 April 2012

[quote Leslie Brook]I can't think of any car I've travelled in (Skoda Superb excepted) where there was ample rear leg room[/quote]

Can I recommend my former LWB 1st gen A-Class (model number V168). Overall legroom was 1cm more than the S-Class even though the car itself was 378 cm long. Still the best packaged car ever, and therefore IMHO a fantastic car, period. The only car that could negotiate Roman traffic and the hunt for parking spaces one day and then take a family of 4 plus their luggage on vacation in real "stretch your legs" comfort the next day.

10 April 2012

[quote giulivo]Can I recommend my former LWB 1st gen A-Class (model number V168).[/quote]

Used to hire one of these quite often from EasyRentaCar or whatever they were called. You can certainly recommend the rear leg room if you wish, but I'll not recommend it for anything else!

10 April 2012

[quote ianp55]Well that's another gap in the market that BMW have filled what about a two door SWB 5 series next?[/quote]

I'm looking forward to seeing the LWB M6.


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