The BMW 5 Series is due to debut for the Chinese market on 19 April at the Shanghai Auto Show. As with other competitors in the segment, BMW’s mid-sized premium exec is offered to the People’s Republic exclusively in long-wheelbase format.
Official images of the stretched G30 clad in M Sport trim have just leaked online including a clear picture of an expanded rear cabin complete with what appears to be the detachable touchscreen tablet as seen in the 7 Series.
Outwardly, the Chinese car’s lengthened proportions can only be seen at the stretched rear doors, but the base car’s design lines were evidently penned to accommodate this stretching without looking too awkward.
Reports have indicated that the 5 Series L will be offered with a choice of three petrol engines in the Chinese market. The 252hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 340hp 3.0-litre six-cylinder mills of the 530Li and 540Li are the same units as announced during the global launch last year.
A new addition to the catalogue is a detuned version of the B48 2.0-litre engine making 224hp in the 525Li – this potentially foreshadows an eventual introduction of a 525i for the standard wheelbase car available elsewhere in the world.
The Chinese market has a unique demand for long wheelbase cars in all premium segments – there’s even a stretched BMW X1 there.
All of the 5 Series’ rivals in China – the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, and Volvo S90 – are sold in long wheelbase formats. These stretched models are typically exclusive to China, although Mercedes recently introduced the E-Class LWB in India as well.