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Beijing show: BMW stretches the 3 Series for China

The long and short of it: BMW unvelied a long-wheelbase version of the new 3 Series in Beijing.

BMW unveils long-wheelbase 3 Series as first-quarter sales in China rise 37 per cent

BMW logo24 Apr 2012

By TERRY MARTIN

JUST as Infiniti was wheeling out a stretched version of its 5 Series-rivalling M sedan at this week’s Beijing motor show, BMW took the covers off a new China-only long-wheelbase 3 Series.

Making its world debut on the German luxury car-maker’s stand, the Chinese-built 3 Series Li has an extra 110mm added to its wheelbase (now up to 2760mm) and will be available in 320Li, 328Li and 335Li guises – each with Sport, Luxury and Modern personalisation packages.

BMW Group board member responsible for sales and marketing Ian Robertson said the model “shows our focus on the Chinese customer, as well as our commitment to the Chinese market”.

He claimed the rear seats were the most comfortable in its segment, while the company’s focus on aesthetics “continues beyond the interior” with the LWB model’s “sporty and self-confident” exterior design.

“Tailored to the wishes of our customers, this car’s performance has been expertly balanced with its elegant design,” said Mr Robertson. “The luxurious interior makes use of high-quality materials put together with precision craftsmanship.”

14 center imageBMW also showcased the 6 Series Gran Coupe, X6 and M6 Coupe on its Beijing show stand ahead of their forthcoming launch in China – a market where the BMW Group has sold more than 80,000 vehicles in the first quarter of this year, up 37 per cent over the same period last year.

“China’s sales performance plays a significant role in the BMW Group’s balanced, worldwide success,” said Mr Robertson.

“2012 also marks the best start ever for the BMW Group globally. We sold over 425,000 vehicles to customers right around the world in the first quarter. And we intend to continue this growth as we aim to once again claim the title of number-one premium car company in the world.”

The company will open its new design studio in Shanghai this month, around four months later than originally scheduled at its announcement 12 months ago.

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