Most dynamic new 3er yet… before a full-fat M3, of course.
German luxury marque BMW have revealed a new variant of their latest-generation 3-Series compact saloon, ahead of its official debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Motor Show. The new M340i xDrive is not only the most powerful 3er currently available, but it’s also the first of the new generation to offer a 6-cylinder engine. We’re excited already.
The M340i draws its power from a newly-developed 3.0-litre straight-6 engine, producing a healthy 275kW & 500Nm. With an aluminium crankcase and cylinder head, the new engine is lighter, and features TwinScroll turbocharging which benefits from rapid boost pressure development thanks to the integration of a compact exhaust manifold.
The century sprint is completed in just 4.4-seconds, while the top speed remains limited (as German cars tend to) at 250km/h. Power goes to all-four wheels via a refined xDrive all-wheel drive system, after having first been bundled through an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Despite the power on offer and the Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standards, the M340i xDrive claims to consume just 7.5L/100km on the combined cycle, and put out 172g/km of CO2. That said, we’re doubtful you’ll achieve either of those figures should you regularly use the ‘Launch Control’ feature that comes as standard on this model.
The M340i sits 10mm lower than the standard car, and features “optimised” suspension to maximise the dynamic abilities of this particular model, working in tandem with the various M-Sport changes applied. There’s also a specific “elastokinematics” setup for this car, and a new “lift-related damper control function.” We don’t know what that means. But we do know that Adaptive M suspension will be available with this car, and those are good, so get those.
An additional “integral part” of the M-Sport treatment here is the Variable Sports Steering, which delivers outstanding feedback and precise responses, leading to a very fluid driving experience behind the wheel. And when things start to go haywire, you’ll appreciate the M-Sport brakes, hiding behind the standard 18-inch M light-alloy wheels.
The M340i xDrive features several unique aesthetic touches throughout to denote it as the most potent 3er in the range, like the unique kidney grille with mesh design, rear spoiler, and trapezoidal exhaust pipes. If that’s not enough, there’s also lashes of Cerium Grey applied to the mirrors, air intake struts, the kidney grille, and the model lettering.
Step inside and the unique aesthetics continue, with a mix of Sensatec & Alcantara upholstery, anthracite headliner, leather steering wheel (with paddle shifters), and Aluminium Tetragon cabin trim. And in case you’re forgetful, the digital instrument cluster features ‘M340i’ lettering in it too.
It’s not clear at present if BMW Australia will be offering this car, as the M340i will not only cost quite a bit, but it might muddy-up prospective buyers who’d otherwise make a beeline for a proper BMW M3 (whenever that’s due). That said there is plenty of appeal in a six-cylinder 3er, of that we’re sure, so we’ll have to wait on a response from BMW’s local offices.