The Long and Short of Luxury Cars in China

Jenny Gu

Long-wheelbase luxury car models are most common in China. Audi established this segment in 2005 with the introduction of the long-wheelbase A6, which proved to be popular with buyers in China. Audi’s competitors soon followed with their own entries, and now China is the only market in the world to offer long versions of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Mercedes S80L.

Until recently, extended-base luxury cars were the most popular in China. But as the market has grown, car buyers’ tastes and preferences have begun to change and diversify. Buyers increasingly are beginning to favor standard-wheelbase vehicles. This trend has been spotted by BMW, which is now offering stretched and standard-wheelbase versions of its cars. We think this is both a bold and astute move.

The powertrain and trim levels between the two wheelbase versions are largely the same. Typically, however, the long version will exhibit slightly higher top speeds and better acceleration, while the standard version will have slightly better handling. Continue reading ›