The Shanghai auto show set the stage for the world premiere of the all-new BMW 5 Series Long Wheelbase, built exclusively for the Chinese market. The wheelbase has been extended by 5 inches when compared to the traditional 5 Series, and is completely dedicated to the rear seats. An ample amount of rear seat leg room is an important feature for the emerging Chinese market.
The 5 Series just entered its seventh generation for the 2017 model year and gains a redesigned chassis that includes a lighter five-link rear suspension. For the standard 5 Series, this results in a weight reduction of 137 pounds from its predecessor thanks to the use of lightweight material like magnesium and a new trunk lid made entirely from aluminum. The new design now resembles the looks of other BMW cars with bolder lower air vents and headlights now connected to the grille.
To increase the appeal of the 5 Series Long Wheelbase, BMW will offer a more efficient plug-in hybrid variant as well. Accounting for 30 percent of BMW sales in China, the automaker hopes the new 5 Series will continue to contribute to the brand's success in China. BMW claims this is just one of the 14 new products the German automaker has in store for this fast growing market.
Launching long-wheelbase variants in the Chinese market is nothing new for car manufacturers. Volvo, Jaguar, and Audi have designed long-wheelbase versions of the S90, XF, and A4 models specifically for China.