The BMW 3 Series is a classic example of a driver’s car, but BMW will launch a passenger-oriented version of it at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show later this month. The car in question is the 3 Series Long Wheelbase, a stretched version of the company’s latest sport sedan.
The playbook behind the 3 Series Long Wheelbase is almost exactly the same as the 5 Series LWB that precedes it: BMW will stretch its 3 Series by 4.3 inches to allow for more room in the back. Most of the extra 4.3 inches are found aft of the B-pillars. The rear seat now features power recline and slide functions, and BMW also included touches including vanity mirrors and rear sunshades.
Why the attention on the passenger compartment? It’s likely in order to woo Chinese premium car owners, who typically prefer to be driven than to do the driving themselves.
The driver should have plenty of fun, however, because the Chinese stretched 3er will get the same two engines we’ve come to love in the American market in the new F30 range. The base model, the 328i, has BMW’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower, and the 335i has a 3.0-liter turbo inline-six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower. For frugal buyers, there’s also a 320Li, which should have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine making 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.
Pricing or sale dates haven’t been announced, but we know the car will be produced at BMW’s new factory in Shenyang, China and won’t be available outside of China. Expect to see more at the Beijing Auto Show, on April 23 and 24.