Automakers only used to stretch sedans, but the rise of SUVs has prompted manufacturers to expand their LWB offerings. BMW introduced the X1 Li in China back in 2016 and now it’s elongating the X5 to join the 3 Series Li and 5 Series Li. It looks just about the same as the standard version, but now with longer rear doors.
Made in China for China, the X5 Li is 130 mm (5.1 inches) longer between the axles than the regular SUV. It means the wheelbase measures a stately 3,105 mm (122 inches), which is identical to that of the fullsize X7. All the extra length has been added to boost legroom for passengers sitting in the second row.
BMW says the X5 Li has bespoke Comfort seats with an extra four degrees of backrest tilt. To further set it apart from the standard version, the long-wheelbase SUV boasts an electroplated finish for some of the controls. In addition, the sound system’s speakers have perforated metal covers.
The BMW X5 Li Comes Loaded With Features
BMW has fitted the more luxurious X5 with a panoramic glass roof and a smartphone tray with inductive charging. It will be sold locally in xDrive30Li and xDrive40Li flavors, with the latter optionally offered with air suspension. Both six- and eight-cylinder models put the power to the wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic transmission and AWD.
Curiously, the G18 BMW X5 Li is not based on the upcoming facelifted version spy photographers have been spotted undergoing testing. The China-only model is fitted with the M Aerodynamics Package and features different chassis tuning to handle the extra length. Speaking of which, the SUV should be 5,052 mm (199 inches) long provided the overhangs have remained the same. If that’s the case, the X5 Li is nearly as long as the X7.
It will enter production in April at the Shenyang plant through the joint venture with Brilliance in which BMW recently increased its share to 75%.