Demand for saloon cars has been plummeting in Europe and the USA in recent years. Crossovers and SUVs are increasingly raining on the parade of this once hugely popular segment, but there are places in the world where four-door cars still held in high esteem, to the point where there are curious long-wheelbase versions of compact execs in some markets.
Case in point? The India-exclusive BMW 3-series Gran Limousine, which is a G20 with an extra 110mm between the wheels. It slots between the regular 3er and the 5-series, which is about 10cm longer. Niche.
What’s exclusive to the Indian market is the name - we have already seen a long-wheelbase G20 3-series made for China with the same 110mm growth spurt. It’s more simply called the 3-series Li, with no fancy ‘Gran Limousine’ shenanigans going on.
The Li/GL meanwhile will be built locally at BMW’s Chennai plant, which produces a range of different BMWs sold in the region plus the Indian market Mini Countryman.
Rear-seat Gran Limousine passengers get an extra 43cm of legroom to enjoy, which isn’t to be sniffed at. Further improving life for anyone sitting at the back, there are various “indulgence features” including a panoramic sunroof, fancy ‘Vernasca’ leather, ambient lighting and something called ‘luxurious rear seat’ which BMW hasn’t expanded upon.
There’ll be three derivatives at launch, all powered by inline-fours. There’s one diesel, the 320Ld Luxury Line, and two petrols, the 330Li Luxury Line and 330Li M Sport First Edition. Prices range from 51,50,000 rupees to 53,90,000 (roughly £51,500 to £54,000). It’s available in BMW India dealers from today.