Having entered series production at the beginning of the year, the 5 Series Li is ready for prime time. The market launch is imminent, prompting BMW to provide a closer look at the elongated luxury sedan built in China. Codenamed G68, the extra-long saloon was designed in the People’s Republic to better cater to local tastes, according to BMW. That said, there are only minor differences compared to the globally available G60 model.
Aside from the longer doors to accommodate the extended wheelbase and those glitzy gold accents, the 5 Series Li has the “5” illuminated in white on the Hofmeister kink. BMW will also sell the car in China as a fully electric i5, in which case the logo will have a blue light that will pulsate while the battery is charging. The eighth generation 5 Series is already a big car, but the Li makes it even larger, at 5175 millimeters (203.7 inches) long with an imposing wheelbase of 3105 mm (122.2 in).
There are no diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains available in China where BMW is selling the longer 5er only as the locally built 525Li and 530Li gasoline models alongside the i5 eDrive35L. The M Performance variant (i5 M60 xDrive) will be imported. The gas models have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine benefitting from mild-hybrid tech and delivering 190 and 255 horsepower, respectively. The single-motor, rear-wheel-drive i5 variant is rated at 281 hp whereas the hot dual-motor M60 xDrive churns 593 hp.
The new model is being offered with either the M Sport Package or with the Luxury Line option, each with its own subset of details for clearer visual separation. The 5 Series Li is BMW’s first car after the flagship 7 Series to get the 31.3-inch Theatre Screen for rear-seat occupants.
How relevant is the 5 Series for BMW in China? It’s a huge deal considering about two million have been sold there since local production started in 2003. As a matter of fact, the best-selling version of the previous generation was the long-wheelbase model built there. Indeed, the G38 accumulated sales of approximately 950,000 units, or 130,000 more than the globally available G30 with its standard wheelbase.