Search

2020 BMW M340i: Earning Its 'M' Badge

Updated: Aug 8, 2020


MSRP as tested: $73,799

Specs: 3.0L turbocharged inline 6-cylinder (382hp, 369 lb.-ft. torque),

paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission

0-100kmh as tested: 4.1 seconds


With this new generation, the 2020 BMW M340i edges even closer to the legendary BMW M3 in both pricing and performance. With 382 horsepower, a massively improved interior, typical excellent BMW handling, a surprisingly complacent ride, and oodles of fancy advanced technology, the new M340i justifies its hefty price tag, and positions itself atop the German luxury sports sedan totem pole.





Driving Impressions:

If someone told me this M340i was the new generation M3, I might have believed them. This car is insanely quick for what it is, and feels a good chunk faster than its rivals. Floor the accelerator pedal and the car hits you with a wave of torque, reaching 100km/h in 4.1 seconds in our testing. It’s not just straight line performance where the M340i impresses however; the car feels extremely agile and capable, carving corners like a classic RWD sports sedan despite its AWD layout. To add to the fun, the BMW inline-six sounds amazing as ever, though admittedly some of that is due to artificially piped-in tones (not that you’d be able to tell). And yes, it sounds pretty good from the outside too, crackles and pops included.

But perhaps the best part of the new M340i is its playful traction control system, which is quite generous in the amount of sideways action it allows before snapping you back to safety. This, combined with the excellent steering feel and feedback, is enough to make anyone feel like a pro behind the wheel.


Yet despite capabilities making it worthy of an M badge, the M340i handles the daily city commute as well as any other luxury cruiser. For an extra $2100, the 3-Series comes with all the drivers assistance features you could ever want, all of which work remarkably well. Additionally, whereas rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG and the Audi S4 feel just a tad too stiff, the M340i’s suspension is able to soak up potholes AND tackle corners with ease; something only Porsche has been able to achieve until now. With this new iteration, BMW has, in my opinion, finally perfected the balance between sportiness and comfort in a luxury sports sedan.



Interior:

In the past, the 3-Series had always been adequate when it came to interior design but never really stood out as anything special, perhaps even looking a tad out of date. This is no longer the case, as BMW has taken a massive leap forwards for this generation. The cabin looks modern, possibly even futuristic, and is built as solidly as ever. Materials are also befitting of the class, with most surfaces covered in handsome leather or Alcantara, and accented with aluminium trim here and there. I especially enjoy the Aluminium Tetragon trim, which gives a sort of unique 3D depth effect, and suits the high-tech cabin far better than traditional wood options.

BMW's Aluminium Tetragon Trim looks amazing in the M340i, and comes standard!

At night, the 3-Series’s colourful ambient lighting rivals that of even Mercedes, appearing as fully RGB customizable laser light strip on door panels and across the dash, as well as mood lighting in footwells and door pockets.



BMW continues to lead the industry in infotainment systems with iDrive 7.0, which now sports a large 10.25 inch touchscreen and a brand new UI. This is one of the most intuitive infotainment system in the market and works remarkably well, though a bit more complex and feature-packed than the last generation iDrive 6.0. Tech is also plentiful, with highlights including a fully digital 12.3 inch instrument cluster, available wireless Apple CarPlay + wireless charging, “Hey BMW” intelligent personal assistant, Reversing Assistant which automatically reverses out of narrow spots for you by retracing your steps, and the best 3D Surround View camera system in the auto industry.

Exterior

At first glance, the difference between the M340i vs 330i is nowhere near as pronounced as something like the Mercedes-Benz C43 vs C300. Styling is quite tame, though that’s not to say it isn’t attractive. Instead, it looks handsome and subtly aggressive, and could possibly even be classified as a sleeper from some angles, if not for the M-Sport badges scattered all over the place. Personally, I do wish BMW went with some more aggressive styling cues to match the M340i’s sporty personality; if you’re going to put almost a dozen M badges on the car, you might as well go all out. But I guess BMW is saving the flared fenders and aggressive bumpers for the upcoming M3.



Ownership and Service Experience:

BMW offers all new owners No-Charge Scheduled Maintenance and a full coverage warranty for 4 years/80,000km, meaning your out-of-pocket service/repair expenses for these first 4 years should be next to zero. After these 4 years are up however, be prepared to pay to play as the M340i isn’t exactly cheap to service, nor does it have a stellar reputation for long term reliability either. The good news is, you can purchase an extension for the No-Charge Scheduled Maintenance, extending coverage up to 8 years/160,000km, as well as an extended warranty.


Although pricey, the dealership experience is generally positive. Sales and service staff are professional and amenities are decent, although be warned that not all dealerships provide complimentary BMW loaner vehicles. The ones that do will likely provide you with a base 3 Series or X3, and that's only if your car is in the shop for more than a couple of hours. Other things to note, wireless Apple CarPlay rarely works as smoothly as it should, so be prepared to revert back to relying on your charging cable for CarPlay. Android Auto isn't yet available, but should be arriving very soon via a software update. As well, gimmicks such as the infamous gesture controls are more of a hassle to use than anything, and will be left forgotten after the novelty wears off.



Recommended Build: M340i w/ Advanced Driver Assistance Package ($67,454 CAD)

Although the M340i starts at $65,355, our tester came in at a massive $73,799 CAD thanks to the Advanced Driver Assistance Package ($2100), and the Premium Excellence Package ($4500), and Enhanced Track Package ($950). Although we enjoyed the Advanced Driver Assistance Package (which adds all the typical semi-autonomous driving aids along with the best surround-view camera system in the industry), we did find the Premium Excellence Package to be a bit unnecessarily expensive. We’d rather save $4500 and give up the upgraded stereo system, heads-up display, electrically-operated trunk, Wi-Fi mobile hotspot, etc. The Enhanced Track Package’s upgraded brakes and cooling system is also quite unnecessary, unless you really plan to track this juiced-up family performance sedan.


Priced our way with just the Advanced Driver Assistance Package, the M340i comes in at a more reasonable $67,454 CAD, while still being pretty well equipped. At this price point, the M340i provides a thrilling experience that outperforms all the competition in both performance, handling, and ride quality (namely the Audi S4 and the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG), as well as coming with a plethora of advance technology and drivers assistance features to aid in daily city driving. Just make sure you go easy on the option boxes when speccing your M340i.

To build and price your own BMW, visit: https://configure.bmw.ca


©2020 by SimplyAuto