The BMW 3-series is known as one of the best luxury sports sedans you can buy. For 2020, the new M340i joins its sibling the 330i and can be described as a 3-series on steroids.
The M340i is more powerful, quicker, roomier, and has a more luxurious interior and more tech. It’s also a head-turner with its good looks. It has a slightly more aggressive stance with gray accents on the grille surround, larger air dams and special M wheels.
Bimmer fans know that the 3-Series was introduced in 1976 to replace the outgoing 2002 coupe and it’s been popular ever since.
The five-passenger M340i starts at $54,000 with standard rear-wheel-drive. The M340i with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system starts at $56,000.
The M340i is powered by a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine that makes a healthy 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed Sport Steptronic automatic transmission.
Push the start button and the engine has that pleasing growl. Yeah, this baby is quick. BMW says the M340i it can go from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Accelerating to pass and merge at freeway speeds is effortless. And the M340i is so balanced that it practically begs you to take it out on twisty back roads.
Even with that responsiveness and sharp handling, the M340i has a comfortable ride and isn’t so firm to be harsh. Sport, Sport+ and Comfort modes let you tweak the handling to your liking.
I had so much fun driving the M340i that I happily ran mundane errands just so I could spend more time behind the wheel. In short, it drives like a luxury sport sedan should.
Unfortunately, no manual transmission is offered in U.S. versions of the 330i and 340i. But there is a manual shift option with the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
BMW’s XDrive all-wheel-drive system is great for the Pacific Northwest and the wide variety of driving conditions we face here.
EPA ratings for my tester are 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with a combined rating of 25. I got 25 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. Premium fuel is recommended.
While the interior is nice with upscale materials, it’s not as luxurious as Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The layout is clean and driver-centric with leather seating and classy wood and metal trim, but there’s also a fair amount of plastic. Front passengers have decent leg- and headroom. While the rear seat technically seats three passengers, the center hump eats up a lot of legroom.
The infotainment system is BMW’s iDrive 7 system with its 10.2-inch touchscreen and controller in the center console. Unfortunately, the system uses a myriad of menus and submenus, making it a challenge to get to some functions. You’ll definitely need time to become accustomed to it as it’s not always intuitive to operate.
BMW only offers one year of a subscription to Apple CarPlay—after that you have to pay for it. And Android Auto is still not available at all.
The M340i has 17 cubic feet of trunk space. A standard Storage package adds extra storage areas, partition nets on both sides of the trunk, bag hooks, and a 12-volt plug. The 40/:20/40 split-folding rear seats provide flexibility in transporting passengers and cargo. Hands-free opening and closing of the trunk lid are available.
Oh so fun to drive
Darn quick with dynamic handling
Lots of standard and available tech
Available with all-wheel-drive
Price can escalate quickly with packages and options
Interior not as swanky as its other German competitors
Infotainment system can be clunky to use and distracting
Apple CarPlay only available with a subscription; no Android Auto
My tester starts at $56,000. Tanzanite Blue II Metallic paint is $1,950. Oyster Vernasca leather is $1,450. Driving Assistance package is $500 and adds Active Driving Assistant Pro, Active Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning. Drivers Assistance Pro Package is $1,700 and adds the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant. The Premium Package is $1,400 and adds a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and head-up display. The Executive Package is $2,100 and adds automatic high beams, Icon Adaptive LED with Laserlight, parking Assistant Plus and Gesture Control. Remote engine start is $300. 19-inch M wheels are $600. Adaptive M Suspension is $700. Power tailgate is $250. Ambient lighting is $250. Wireless charging is $500. Harman Kardon surround sound system is $875. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $69,570.
The 2020 BMW M340i is what a sports sedan should be. It ups the power and excitement of the 330i with its enhanced driving dynamics, excellent handling and good looks. This bimmer comes close to being the Ultimate Driving Machine.