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The long-wheelbase E-Class will exclusively be sold in China.

Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to introduce a long-wheelbase version of the brand new 2017 E-Class at next week's Beijing Auto Show.The long-wheelbase model will be about 5.5 inches longer than the standard version (pictured). The extra sheet metal will give the passengers riding in the back more room to stretch their legs. Wheelbase aside, the long E will be identical to the regular model when it's viewed from the outside.

It's too early to tell whether Mercedes has made modifications to the cabin. Similarly, technical details won't be published until the Beijing show opens its doors.

The long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz E-Class will go on sale in China, where wealthy buyers enjoy being chauffeured, before the end of the year. It will fight in the same segment as the long-wheelbase variants of the Audi A6, the BMW 5 Series, and the Jaguar XF.

What's next?

The stretched E-Class will be built in China, and it will initially be sold exclusively on the local market. However, Motor1 points out that the long-wheelbase model might spawn a more luxurious version of the E-Class built by Mercedes-Maybach. If that's the case, the Maybach-badged model will likely be manufactured in Germany, and it will be sold in a handful of global markets including the United States.