For years now, the Chinese market has received long-wheelbase versions of cars that don’t otherwise come in long-wheelbase form. For instance, the new G20 BMW 3 Series is now available in long-wheelbase form only in the Chinese market, while no other market gets it. This isn’t new and it’s not exclusive to the 3 Series, as both Audi and Mercedes-Benz do the same with the A4 and C-Class, respectively.
The reason for this Chinese-market exclusive on long-wheelbase models is that Chinese customers value rear passenger space above all else. But since not every Chinese customers can afford something as big and opulent as a 7 Series or S-Class, they prefer to have longer versions of more affordable cars, such as the 3 Series.
Marking its return with a new generation, the new BMW 3 Series Long Wheelbase just made its official debut at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. BMW’s done a great job with this new longer 3er, we think, as it barely looks any longer than the standard car. In fact, in isolation, it’s almost impossible to tell that it’s any longer at all. Yet, it is and it sports enough extra rear seat space that rear passengers can stretch their legs a bit more and relax.
This new Long ‘3 also gets some unique touches, just for the Chinese market. For instance, it gets some slightly revised rear seats, a new rear armrest and even a new strip of ambient lighting on the back of the front seats. All of which combine to make the back seat a bit more luxurious, a bit more comfortable. After all, customers are buying this car to sit in the back seat.
While such an idea might seem odd for enthusiasts, who prefer to sit in the driver’s seat and drive, it makes a lot of sense for the Chinese market.