Last year I had a brief stint with the range topping M340i xDrive from BMW, and while I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked behind the wheel it was enough for me to give you an impression into the car. Well, after 7 months I got another chance to get behind the mighty brute and this time on my own turf, to say that week was exhilarating is putting it mildly, I'd look for any excuse to go and take it for a spin. Being lockdown made it even easier to just stay in the car and enjoy the environment that is the lush interior of the BMW G20 series.
The car, in Metallic Sunset Orange looked stunning and a head turner of note. There's a lot that differentiates the M340i from the normal 3 Series range and with good reason too. Apart from featuring BMW's four wheel drive system, xDrive the M340i has it's own unique active grille design as well as brushed aluminum inserts for air-intakes which assist in brake cooling. The rear difusser is also more robust and sportier than normal, with the tailpipe area more pronounced. The M340i also receives M Sport 19" bi-colour rims which intensifies the cars overall sporty look. In the interior, it's pretty much your same G20 interior with added sporty elements like chrome and aluminum as well as the seats being more sporty bucket type.
Powered by a 3-litre in-line 6 cylinder Twin-Power Turbo engine, this car was never going to be a slouch, I mean its 0-100km/h time is just 4.4 seconds! And its not even the proper M3! The motor delivers 285kW and 500Nm, top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h which is easily achievable seeing how quick this bad boy accelerates but please, stick to the speed limit on national roads. The thing about this car though, is that even though the motor packs quite a punch, it can be a tame beast, comfort or eco mode allows you to cruise around and enjoy relatively decent economy and while this car would be labelled as a performance car, I mean it's even written in bold on the engine cover, it is pretty practical and is a proper family sedan. A lot of people ask me if I can really make out the difference X Drive makes to the overall driving aspect to the car, and the short answer is yes. It all comes down driving dynamics, knowing the cars limits and what is assisting you to achieve what you are doing. While all-wheel drive sounds a bit much for a sedan, getting power delivered to each wheel at different levels when needed gives the driver that much more confidence in entering and existing bends as well as doesn't compromise on the brakes as well as down changing or slowing down.
The front seats are bucket sport seats with full leather trim, seat heating is an option extra as well as electronic memory seats and I'm pretty sure you can add lumbar support and massage to it too. The rear seats are semi bucket type but can seat 3 people comfortably. The front has dual zone climate control air conditioner with a single zone for the rear passengers. The ride quality is just as good as normal G20 sedan, there's no stiff suspension feel for this car, even with X Drive, it soft of softens the entire ride. The car came with a panoramic sunroof, ideal for getting some fresh air in the cabin or enjoy the natural light that comes through it. The luggage capacity in the boot remains the same as the standard 3 series with adequate space for a family trip.
Well we all know what the new M3 is packing now and while that engine pumps out close to a 100 more kW than the M340i, it was expected. In saying that the price difference will also be quite substantial to this model and in my opinion, if you're looking for something with practical but every now and then get the hairs on the back of your neck standing, this is the perfect car for it. You can't go around comparing it to a proper M model but it comes pretty close, with the beautiful notes that spit out the exhaust and the enthralling performance from the engine, I think M3 Lite has a nice ring to it but call it what it is, M340i!
3.0L, 6 cylinder, M TwinPower Turbo
8 M Sport Automatic
Pictures by @DBN_Spotter
Pictures by @DBN_Spotter