The new BMW 5 Series isn't what we'd call a small car. It's almost five meters long these days, surpassing the length of the iconic 7 Series from the James Bond flick, "Tomorrow Never Dies". To say you can stretch out in a modern 5 Series is an understatement, as it offers a whole lot of legroom.
But the Chinese market is a little different. Over there, there's a long-wheelbase version of just every car imaginable, from VW Tiguans to, yes, the already lengthy new 5 Series. It's called the 5 Series L, and it's almost as long as the standard-length 7 Series.
The L stands for extended-length, and BMW stretched out the mid-sized sedan quite a bit. The car is over five meters long thanks to several inches added between the wheelbase. For the Chinese market, the German automaker added another five meters to the wheelbase of the 5 Series. That means it now measures over three meters long from wheel to wheel.
Because of that extra space, BMW added more luxuries at the back of the stretched 5 Series. The long-wheelbase 5 Series can be fitted with a Sky Lounge panoramic glass sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, two tilt-adjustable touch screens, as well as ambient lighting offering a choice of eleven light designs. Not only that, but this 5 Series can also be specified with comfort rear seat with ergonomic upholstery and unique headrests. Not even the German-spec 5 Series is available with the special seating.
The extended-length 5 Series is available in a variety of engine options, but BMW has opted to highlight the 535Le. The "e" in the name stands for electric and denotes that this particular model is the plug-in hybrid version. This engine isn't offered anywhere else but in China, and it's a bit of shame. This gas-electric 5 Series has a combined output of 292 PS, which is more than what the 530i and 530e produce.
While we won't be getting the stretched 5 Series here, we're pretty content with what's sold locally. The 520i is comprehensively equipped and is one of our highest-rated luxury sedans we reviewed in the past year. We get the 530d too, which was quite the torque monster when we last reviewed it.