BMW has revealed images and initial details of the first long wheelbase bodystyle for a 3 Series sedan. The new Li, to be built exclusively in China, will have its world premiere at the Beijing motor show on 23 April.

All three variants (335Li, 328Li and 320Li) will be built at BMW Group and Brilliance Automotive’s second plant in the city of Shenyang. The partners held a ground breaking ceremony for the 100,000upa facility in June 2010.

The 3 Series Li cars have a wheelbase which measures 2,920mm, which is a 110mm stretch over that of the standard sedan’s. The existing best seller in this segment, the Changan-built Audi A4L, has a 2,868mm wheelbase, so the new Li appears to have a roominess advantage over the Audi.

BMW is clearly hoping its new model will be able to ape the success of FAW Volkswagen’s long wheelbase Audi A4. In 2011, the JV sold a total of 87,262 units of this car.