By on April 3, 2010

While everybody is afraid of China flexing its muscles, the Middle Kingdom is stretching its feet. And its cars. Long versions are very popular in the world’s largest auto market, where one can hire a permanent driver for a few hundred $ a month.

BMW joins the fray with a lengthened version of their locally produced 5 Series, called BMW 5 Series Li. The previous generation was also available in a stretched Li version.

According to China Car Times, the Fünfer gained 14 centimeters in length, giving the boss in the back ample space to spread. Like its regulation length counterpart, the stretched version comes with a six-cylinder engine, ranging from 204 to 306 hp. Produced in joint venture with Brilliance Automotive, Daddy Longlegs will debut at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show.

The leggy BMW 5 Li will join other stretched Teutonic drives, such as the Audi A4L and Audi A6L, both very popular in China.

Only problem, which the polite Chinese probably decided not to point out to their Bavarian counterparts: In Mandarin Chinese, “Li” is a very popular family name. In China, it’s akin to calling the car “BMW 5 Series Jones.”

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8 Comments on “BMW China Does Stretching Exercises...”

  • avatar

    How many of those 14 cms make it into the cabin legroom?

    Will they sell them outside China? Sounds like a sure-hit… the perfect-sized BMW with better leg-room…

  • avatar

    why don’t they call it the “iL” like they used to?


    also i don’t know what’s the mentality of the 540iL or the Mercedes e430 long?

    why not get a 740iL or a S class?

    • 0 avatar

      I keep seeing this comment, and I don’t understand the “let them eat cake” thinking. People buying a stretched 5 won’t just get a 7-series or S-class for the same reasons a normal person wouldn’t buy a 7-series instead of a 5 series:

      Price – Just because a 5 series is stretched, doesn’t mean it will cost as much as a 7, or near as much as a stretched 7. It may be hard to imagine, but many people don’t have the money to say, “why not?”

      Size – They may not need to seat 3 across in the back or have huge loungers in front. They may live in an area with narrow streets (China and Europe have both). They may like the maneuverability of the 5. And since they are sitting in the back anyway, they may not care about front accomodations.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly why a guy in the rear, who does not have unlimited funds, would spend his more limited means on an ultimate driving machine, rather than an ultimate passenger machine, still baffles.

      Even with longer doors, the 5’s rear seats and roof line are still lower than ideal for climbing in and out of; a compromise that makes sense in a driver’s car, but not so much in one bought to be chauffeur driven.

  • avatar

    In the millions of people I saw in China, I never saw a Chinese man or woman much over 5 feet. Must be another reason.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I presume the Chinese would rather sell their wealthy buyers a stretched 5-Series that is made in China than a similar 7-Series that isn’t made in China.Since the regular 5 sits on a 7-Series floorpan shortened by 10cm , this must be roomier than a regular 7.

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