Home / Home / BMW M340i xDrive Road Test Review – Adrenaline and Dopamine

 

The BMW M340i xDrive is the penultimate six-cylinder experience, a big step up from the 330i and just one rung down on the legendary M3 plate. How does it fare in our road test? Read on…

BMW M340i xDrive

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

What makes you happy? Like truly happy? When finding out about a car puts a smile on your face, that’s half the job done for the maker. When it finally finds its way to your hands, when you get to grips with it, there are only one of three results: disappointment, meeting expectations or exceeding expectations. So, where does the new 3 fit in? We find out by taking it through the rigours of city life before it reaches its element and then is put through something completely different. Can the new M340i xDrive do it all? The answer lies ahead.

The 3 Series is, and has been for a while, the go-to sport-luxury offering for buyers in the segment. Many established names have tried but they came close or failed to match its mesmerising driving dynamics and charisma at the wheel. They weren’t bad. No. The 3 was just better. That’s it. Over the past decade or so, downsizing stepped in and if you chose a 318i, 320i, 323i, 325i, 328i, 330i or even a 335i, now, what’s under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo in-line four-cylinder petrol engine with anywhere between 156 hp and 306 hp — about right for the badging. Where things step up, now, is the 40i. And, oh, what a different beast that is.

BMW M340i xDrive

The 340i can be had in one powertrain package only, with the BMW M division doing their thing. The M340i xDrive (Sedan, yes, a Touring estate body style is available in Europe and the UK) is the one and only six, this side of the full-power M3 and M3 Competition — the latter is the one with the automatic; so, this 40i is as good as it gets.

BMW have gone for a unique grille design for the M340i, reminiscent of the Z4 to me, with its active vents and mesh pattern with chrome garnish. It gets 18-inch M Sport-like wheels with mixed rubber: 225/45 front and 255/40 rear, inside slightly flared wheel-arches. The boot-lip spoiler looks subtle in the body colour — Dravit Grey Metallic; it has a pearl effect with golden orange hue when the sun hits it. There is visual flair in the LED headlights and sharp tail-light clusters, the multi-spoke wheels, the blue brake calipers biting large rotors, and the subtle aero cues along the side. It’s a stunner to behold.

BMW M340i xDrive

Inside is no different. The M Performance treatment is evident. The seats are finished in a mix of alcantara and black leather with contrasting blue stitching and highlights. The multi-way adjustment possibilities make it easy to find a driving position that’s both low and more directly involving. The steering wheel has the “M” badge, but not the “M1” and “M2” buttons — it’s not an M3, mind you. Even so, it feels fantastic to hold on to. The interior trim is sporty yet elegant and the BMW Live Cockpit with voice control makes it easier to go through vehicle functions, including media, navigation, and entertainment. For those seeking connectivity, there is a regular USB port in the centre console and a Type C port is under the armrest; choice is always better. The Harman Kardon premium sound system sounds great, too, and offers a depth of customization to better suit tastes. It’s needed in traffic, as is the climate control. The large sunroof also makes the cabin a little brighter. Being stuck in city traffic is a given at some point, yet the M340i makes it pleasant. The drive modes make it easier. There is a unique set-up here: a standard Comfort mode, an Eco Pro with standard and individual settings, and a Sport mode with standard, Plus, and Individual settings; each of these sub-modes is activated by repeat presses on their respective mode buttons on the centre console. There was much to try out. Soon I had the chance to do just that.

BMW M340i xDrive

I was past the traffic and got on to some more open road. Luckily for me, sweeping bends and tighter hairpins were part of it, too. The M340i xDrive had — in Eco Pro with even the air-conditioning at 92 per cent — saved a considerable amount of last-mile connectivity in terms of fuel. I’d managed 10 km/litre in traffic and with the roads opening up, the 340i returns as much as 14 km/l. Enough. Sport and then Sport Plus selected.

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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