New BMW 3 Series Li Almost As Big As BMW 5 Series

Long Wheelbase

Special model unveiled for the Chinese market.

Unlike in America, demand for luxury sedans is surging in China as they’re seen as status symbols. That’s why automakers such as Mercedes, Audi, and BMW produce longer wheelbase versions of its luxury sedans exclusively for the Chinese market.

After the , the is the latest sedan to get the long wheelbase treatment. According to , the new BMW 3 Series Li, as it’s called, measures 190.1 inches long, making it 4.72 in longer than the standard wheelbase model. Staggeringly, that makes it nearly as long as new 5 Series.

Most of the extra length will be applied to the wheelbase, which now measures 116.5 inches. That should be enough to give tall rear passengers a generous amount of legroom.

What you’re looking at here is the 325 Li M Sport sedan. While it looks nearly identical to the global model, look closer and you may notice the rear doors are slightly longer to accommodate the stretched wheelbase. Being the equivalent to Europe’s 320i, the stretched sedan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. 0-62 mph takes 7.2 seconds in the 320i before it tops out at 148 mph.

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Like the , the new 325 Li will be built by the BMW Brilliance joint venture at the Shenyang plant. While China won’t be getting the standard wheelbase 3 Series, the 325 Li will compete with other China-only luxury sedans like the Audi A4 L, Jaguar XE L, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class L.

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