BMW's latest market-specific model has been given a longer wheelbase to satisfy the legroom-hungry Middle Kingdom.
- shares

The long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Li is slated to hit the Chinese market in the middle of 2019, following its production reveal at the Shanghai motor show.

It's the second generation of the stretched 3 Series the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture has produced for China, which is claimed to meet "the needs of young, progressive customers" of the region.

BMW Brilliance has extended the wheelbase by 11 centimetres (110mm) compared to the standard 3 Series sedan sold globally, while also featuring some exclusive equipment.

Overall the 3 Series Li measures 4829mm long, while the wheelbase stretches 2961mm between the axles. By comparison, the standard 3 Series, which is also available in China, is 4709mm long and offers a 2851mm wheelbase.

It's also the first BMW model in China to feature the company's new intelligent voice-activated personal assistant, which offers 'Hey BMW' functionality to complete certain functions.

Standard exterior equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, and trapezoidal tailpipe finishers for the dual exhaust system.

Meanwhile, the interior is accessed by 11cm longer rear doors in limo-like fashion, "special shaping and pampering upholstery" for the rear seats, an extra 43mm of rear legroom, newly-designed headrests with comfort cushions, and special speaker covers developed specifically for the Chinese market.

The long-wheelbase model also gets an ambient lighting strip on the back of the front seats, another limo-esque touch.

At launch the sole model option will be the 325Li, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making 135kW and 300Nm, paired to an eight-speed automatic driving the rear wheels.

Like the standard-wheelbase variant, the 3 Series Li offers a range of high-tech driver assistance systems like autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane change warning, rear collision prevention and cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control with stop&go.

The Driving Assistant Professional package (likely an option) brings steering and lane control assistant which allows for semi-autonomous driving in traffic jams and bottlenecks at speeds up to 60km/h.

Rounding out the available assistance systems are an automatic parking assistant, front and rear sensors, and a rear-view camera.

As with the previous iteration, the 3 Series Li will be produced in China, for China.

Click the images for the full gallery