BMW 3-series LWB gets stretchy in Shanghai

Published: 16 April 2019

► New LWB BMW 3-series
► Shown at 2019 Shanghai expo
► Stretched Three for China

Long-legged chill-out merchants, take note: this is the new 2019 BMW 3-series Long Wheelbase, or LWB - fresh from its world debut at the Shanghai motor show

You'll have heard of the stretched limos that are popular in China, where rear legroom and space are prioritised above front accommodation in some sectors. This is applying that philosophy to the G20 generation of Three.

The car will be manufactured by BMW Brilliance Automotive at the Tiexi/Shenyang plant in time for launch in summer 2019. 

BMW 3-series LWB

Wheelbase is stretched by 11cm to add nearly a foot of extra rear legroom; we slumped in the back of the car at the Chinese car show and can confirm its lazing potential. 

Why do car makers manufacturer long-wheelbase models for China?

LWB versions are big business in China - literally: nearly 80% of all Threes bought here are stretched long-wheelbase models. It’s a large car, stretching to 4829mm long.

This is a vast market, remember: around one in three 3-series sold globally will find a home in China. Which is why car makers are more than happy to engineer a different bodystyle just for this market.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet