If you can’t quite afford a 7 Series or you’re simply not willing to pay the premium BMW is asking for its flagship model, the next best thing would have to be this. Debuting this week at Auto Shanghai, the 5 Series Long Wheelbase is positioned between the regular version of the midsize executive sedan and the fullsize range topper.
Yet again, the LWB model will remain a China-only model and in this latest iteration it’s going to be elongated by 133 millimeters (5.2 inches) compared to the standard sedan. As you can imagine, all the stretch will be going into the wheelbase (now measuring 3,108 mm / 122.3 inches) to free up more legroom for passengers sitting in the back. For those willing to pay more, the standard trim is going to be joined from day one by the upper-spec Luxury Line and M Sport versions bringing a few extra bells and whistles. A thrifty plug-in hybrid version will be available as well.
There’s not much to say about the exterior design as it will be essentially carried over from the standard-wheelbase model. Besides the obviously longer rear doors, the 5 Series LWB will have an extra horizontal line above the taillights and extending into the C-pillar to emphasize the car’s increased footprint. The so-called “air breathers” behind the front wheel arches are also another special feature of the car.
Manufactured by the BMW Brilliance joint venture at the Shenyang factory in China, the 5 Series LWB will go on sale locally in June and is going to be just one of the 14 new BMWs heading to the People’s Republic in 2017.
At the same Auto Shanghai, Acura is showing its answer to the long-wheelbase 5 in the form of the TLX-L Prototype set to enter production later this year. At last year’s event, Mercedes unveiled the E-Class LWB, yet another midsize premium sedan catering the Chinese market where Audi has been selling its A6 L for a number of years.