Judy Rae

BMW’s M340i defines the very essence of a great sports sedan

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By Jeff Mitchell

Beach Wheels

Recently I had the opportunity to test drive the new BMW M340i and came away suitably impressed by the vehicle’s performance and build quality.

The 2020 car is the first full redesign of the 3-Series since 2011, and BMW accomplished all of its goals in trying to give this legendary sports sedan a fresh, stylish new look.

My tester came dressed in a beautiful “Portimao” metallic blue and featured BMW’s special “M” badging inside and out. 

The M340i’s sheet metal has been sculpted carefully front to back and the vehicle features split-spoke, M-specific 19-inch steel alloy wheels and a squat, sexy stance. BMW has given the vehicle larger air dams and gray accents on the grille surround. 

Under the hood, my M340i employed a 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged 6-cylinder gas engine capable of producing 383 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to a smooth-shifting ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.

From a standing start my M340i easily sprinted to 60 mph in about 4.4 seconds.

My tester also featured four-piston calipers that clamped down on 13.7 inch front rotors thus delivering great stopping power.

Adding to it all was a great growly, crackling and popping exhaust note.

My M340i, with its optional Adaptive M Suspension, was amazing on curves and when taking corners. Steering was precise and confidence-inspiring. BMW also gives the M340i firmer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and lower ride height. My tester also featured a standard torque-vectoring rear differential and optional adaptive dampers.

In the cabin, the black leather sport seats (set off by handsome blue stitching) were firm but also comfortable for longer drives. And while the vehicle can seat five adults, you’re really better off with four for a drive of any length.

My tester’s 10.2 inch navigation-entertainment screen was quick, intuitive, brightly lit and offered physical buttons as well as touch-screen features. The on board 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system will blow your socks clean off. While the system doesn’t interact (yet) with Android Auto, it does work perfectly with Apple CarPlay.

Passengers in the front and rear seats have access to both 12 volt outlets and a mess of USB-A and C ports.

In terms of safety, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking comes standard on all M340i’s. Other available safety gear includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning.

In terms of gas mileage, my tester earned 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg out on the highway. 

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for my tester, as trimmed, came to about $67.000.

Final thoughts: Although it isn’t a true M model (I’m told that is coming fairly soon), the M340i represents a significant evolution over BMW’s base 330i model. It has the guts to deliver some real weekend road trip enjoyment while also having the manners to serve as a great, upscale daily driver. Buy with confidence and have fun!

Jeff Mitchell is a Los Angeles-based automotive writer and reviewer. Contact him at j.edward.mitchell@gmail.com

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