The NamasteCar review:
BMW 3 Series M340i xDrive Sedan
The BMW M340i suggests that less is indeed more as it is the best BMW out there.
OVERALL POINTS: 93/100
WE LOVE: ⇑ The M340i has a brilliant engine and drives very well with a loud yet entertaining sound track. It also handles beautifully yet is spacious and feature packed. Brilliant value as well
WE DON’T LOVE: ⇓ The M340i rides a bit firm and is not as comfortable as the standard 330i
In India the performance car industry has seen massive change over the years. Earlier the performance car industry was too small as the emphasis was that most Indian buyers prefer comfort or luxury. The thought was that the Indian luxury car buyer prefer the rear seat and the mostly are not interested in performance. That along with the fact that the road infrastructure was not as good also meant that supercar or performance car sales were too low. However the past few years has seen a change in the buying pattern. With better roads coming up and new highways connecting to various corners, India is now much more suited to supercars. Add in the fact that the age group for purchasing luxury products has gone down and with a boosting economy, the interest is fast cars has also gone up. That meant supercar sales increased and sales of high performance cars have increased. Today we have seen Lamborghini selling 100 Urus cars while limited edition performance cars are also coming in quite big numbers. However below that, the segment for middle- level performance cars have also increased.
Buyers do not want the usual luxury car and instead want performance and handling. That means BMW M and AMG Mercedes have seen their sales see a big change. Such is the demand that now BMW is making its M cars in India. Earlier the M cars were imported but now with a business case supporting investment in India, the M cars are now made here in Chennai alongside other BMW cars. Hence, the first made in India M car and the car in question here is the M340i and it is the performance version of the 3 Series being positioned above the 330i but below the upcoming M3. With the right strategy and power, the M340i has been priced aggressively as the local assembly makes the pricing competitive. So is the M340i a bargain? Our detailed review will tell that.
2. Looks from outside
Immediately the M340i looks different from the 330i and you can recognize the sporty shape plus design. The M340i is based on the standard wheelbase 3 Series and not on the long wheelbase 3 Series which also has been launched recently. The M340i looks sleek and quite low with a lot of M specific design cues. You can see the new BMW kidney grille which is different from the standard 3 series since it is a mesh grille. The mesh inserts are used in a single surround and split up the bars. The grille looks sporty and different while it is also much smaller than the one on the new M4 or M3. You can also see a different bumper and the nice way the headlamps are linked to the grille. The M340i also features LED headlamps which are adaptive while the DRLs are hexagonal in shape along with the light rings. From the side you can see the short overhangs and the long hood which gives the M340i a sportier stance. The rear gets L-shaped LED tail-lamps and that gives the car a wide stance. You also get M styling package along with aerodynamics in form of a rear spoiler while the various bits of the car like the exterior mirror caps, air intake struts, trapezoidal tailpipe trims and the model lettering are all finished in grey metallic. The M340i also gets different and sporty looking wheels with standard 18-inch M light alloy wheels while 19inch ones are also available as an option. In terms of colour options there are three namely Dravit Grey, Sunset Orange and Tanzanite Blue.
3. Driving feel
This is the main reason that you would buy the M340i as it is one of the quickest sedans at this price and BMW also says that it is the quickest locally assembled car in India. The engine is a 6-cylinder ‘M’ petrol engine or specifically a straight six-cylinder petrol engine with 387 hp and 500nm. The M340i is fast with a 0 to 100 km/h time of just 4.4 seconds. Standard in the M340 is a eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission which features SPORT and SPORT+ amongst others. The car also features M technology and that makes it different from the 330i. The M340i has the BMW xDrive all wheel drive system plus an M Sport rear differential. Along with that the suspension is also M specific while there is Variable Sport Steering and M Sport brakes.
When you get in the M340i feel sporty and special plus when you push the start button the car is loud and settles into a nice burble. The M340i has a special M exhaust system and makes a nice sound even when doing a cold start or driving normally. Of course it is not too loud but it is enough to remind you that it is a special car. When you push the sport mode or sport plus the exhaust gets really loud while there are the pops and crackles when you lift off or downshift. The M340i in that sense seems more like a M3 rather than a 330i. That in essence is what separates the M340i as it feels much more of a step up in terms of engine noise, performance or steering or handling. The engine is brilliant as has lots of power but for a turbocharged motor, the engine also loves to rev while having a muscular enough mid-range. Performance is very strong no matter when or where as merely a jab at the accelerator is all that you need. The car feels quicker over a 330i and feels as fast as you want a road car to be. In the sportier modes the 8-speed automatic is fast and downshifts or upshifts very well with no complaint at all. The M340i also has paddle shifts when you want manual control plus is also more fun that way.
The steering feels nice and sharp as well with a heavier set-up and turns in smoothly plus easily. The steering gives you confidence and you know exactly where the car is placing itself. As far as high speed stability is concerned the M340i is brilliant as it has lots of grip and you can get to really high speeds very easily. It feels more like a supercar or a sports car here.
The handling is brilliant as well and for many reasons since the M340i has the x-Drive all wheel drive set-up and that gives grip even in bad conditions hence all drivers can enjoy the power without worrying to slide around or lose control. Hence oversteer or understeer is avoided. Of course to dial in some fun the M340i has a rear biased set-up and it lets you play around a bit but it does provide a safety net which is important.
The M340i is 10mm lower and feels tighter plus more balanced than the 330i while ride quality has not suffered. You can go over potholes easily and the car is not difficult to drive or scrape over bad roads. Of course it is firmer over the 330i and is not as practical but you can drive it every day easily. That is the main appeal of this car as it works in all situations.
4. Interior features and feel
The interior like the standard 3 Series is a lovely place to be. You have excellent quality levels throughout as the interior feels expensive. But compared to the standard 3 Series the M340i is different and sporty. It has a more driver focused feel to it and that is nice. For example there are lovely sport seats with M-specific upholstery in a Sensatec/Alcantara trim and are adjustable in many ways. Plus compared to a standard 3 Series the seats are sportier and help you get a good seating posture with enough comfort. There are other big differences with specific M touches throughout the cabin like an Anthracite BMW Individual roof liner plus a M leather steering wheel with shift paddles, M seat belt and interior trim strips in Aluminum Tetragon plus more.
Additional elements include a carbon fibre finish to the centre console and the sporty yet cool digital instruments. The digital instrument cluster bears the M340i name and also the side sill says M340i. Just like the standard 3 Series the M340i gets all of the technology like the 12.3-inch digital instrument display behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch Control Display. There is also the brilliant i-Drive system and the touch screen display is just brilliant to use too in terms of the graphics.
Other features include a BMW Virtual Assistant which is a voice assistant feature while you can even use hand gestures using the BMW gesture control. This is a cool feature and here the car gets six pre-defined hand movements and you can use that to control various functions. Then you have Wireless Charging, Wireless Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto, a superb Harman Kardon Surround Sound system with 16 loudspeakers, a heads-up display, rear parking assistant with a rear camera view, Ambient Lighting with six dimmable light designs, 3-zone climate control plus finally a panoramic sunroof.
In terms of safety you have six airbags, Attentiveness Assistance, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), electric parking brake with auto hold, side-impact protection, electronic vehicle immobilizer. This car like other BMWs also comes with Runflat Tyres with Tyre Pressure Indicators. Finally there is also a ISOFIX child seat mounting and integrated emergency spare wheel.
The M340i is a 3 Series and despite it being the short wheelbase version, the car is quite spacious. The rear seat is spacious enough for two passengers while there is enough headroom and legroom. The cabin has also enough storage places and the glove box is also big along with the door pockets. It also has the largest boot in its class.
The M340i is decent in terms of efficiency but is less than a 330i. Hence you will get 8-9kmpl on the regular but it will drop to 6 when driven hard. Being locally assembled means that the M340i would be easier to maintain than any other M car with many service packages. The packages range from 3 yrs / 40,000 kms to 10 yrs / 2,00,000 kms.
6. Our opinion
In short you cannot get a better deal than this which explains why it is sold out till June 2021
For the price of Rs 62.9 lakh the M340i is a brilliant value for money car as it provides performance which nothing else at this price gives. It is also a good looking car with enough upgrades from the M department to make it feel special. It is also feature loaded and practical. In short you cannot get a better deal than this which explains why it is sold out till June 2021.
- Acceleration 0-100 km/h in sec: 4.4
- Top speed in km/h: 250
- Capacity in ccm: 2,998
- Stroke/bore in mm: 94.6/82.0
- Compression ratio : 1: 10.2
- Cylinders/Valves: 6/4
- Max. output in kW(hp) at 1/min: 285(387)/5,800
- Max. torque in Nm at 1/min: 500/1,850-5,000
- BMW TwinPower Turbo 6-cylinder engine: Petrol
- Transmission: 8-Speed Steptronic Sport Automatic Transmission
- Fuel Economy km/l: 11.86
- Tank capacity, approx. in l: 59
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