The now-discontinued BMW 3-Series GT was one of BMW’s best selling models in India and its void will be filled up by the 3-Series LWB in 2021 with a very promising back-seat experience.
What comes as quite a surprise, BMW will be replacing the 3-Series GT in India with a long-wheelbase version of the 3-Series sedan. The long-wheelbase BMW 3-Series GT was surprisingly BMW’s best selling model in India and that’s despite its unconventional looks. However, the 3-Series GT has been discontinued globally and there’s no replacement for it in the pipeline. BMW India will thus be filling the void left by the 3 GT with the 3-Series LWB and its expected to hit showrooms by mid-2021. It then will be only long wheelbase sedan in its segment and could possibly shake up the market.
Historically speaking, the long-wheelbase formula has always worked well in India, at least in the luxury car segment. If you look at the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, the BMW 7-Series and the Audi A8, all of these cars are offered only in their long-wheelbase versions here in India. Down the ladder, the Mercedes E-Class which is the only long-wheelbase sedan in its segment is clearly a segment leader. Further down the line, even for executive sedan like the Skoda Superb, long-wheelbase is the mainstay of the segment. Giving Indians some extra legroom at the rear never really hurts.
Just like India, China is another market which is really fond of long-wheelbase cars and all the above mentioned cars are predominantly LWB cars in China as well. India thus is not the first country to get a long-wheelbase 3 Series as its already on sale in China. India however is the first market to get a right-hand-drive LWB 3 Series. But how long is it exactly than the standard 3-Series? Well, the wheelbase of the 3-Series LWB is longer by 110mm than the standard 3-Series and that quite a lot. The wheelbase is even longer than the 3-Series GT by 41mm. So its really a lot.
But its just not about the added length. With the extra room on offer, passengers on the back seat will certainly be more pampered than in the regular 3-Series. The rear seats have been substantially uprated with 43mm of extra legroom and the bench too has been improved with better cushioning and bolstering. The central armrest is wider and the headrests are softer. You also get a panoramic sunroof and ambient lighting. The longer doors also improve ingress and egress. So there’s plenty that has gone to making the rear seats a more comfortable experience.
Under the hood, the BMW 3-Series LWB (330Li) will be powered by a 258hp 2.0L turbo-petrol engine and there will likely be a 190hp 2.0L diesel engine as well. The long-wheelbase is certainly not an afterthought as it was developed and engineered alongside the regular 3-Series. So you can expect the 3-Series LWB to drive pretty much like a true BMW. Unlike the 3-Series GT however, the 3-Series LWB looks pretty much identical to the standard 3-Series, other than the extra length obviosuly. It thus remains to be seen how BMW differentiates the two products. Likely to be priced around Rs 48 lakh – 52 lakh, the BMW 3 Series LWB looks very promising and could deliver a very unique experience in its segment.