Mar
31
2020 BMW M340i xDrive Sedan

2020 BMW M340i xDrive Sedan in Tanzanite Blue II Metallic (a $1950 option)

2015 Audi Q52020 BMW M340i xDrive Sedan

Class: Premium Compact Car

Miles driven: 288

Fuel used: 13.6 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceA
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyB-
ValueC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB-
Tall GuyB-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs382-hp 3.0-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 6-cylinder
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 18.8 mpg

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/30/25 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Premium gas recommended

Base price: $56,000 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Tanzanite Blue II Metallic ($1950), Oyster Vernasca Leather ($1450), Driving Assistance Package ($500), Drivers Assistance Pro Package ($1700), Premium Package ($1400), Executive Package ($2100), remote engine start ($300), 19-inch M wheel style 791M with performance run-flat tires ($600), adaptive M suspension ($700), power trunklid ($250), ambient lighting ($250), wireless device charging ($500), Harmon Kardon surround sound audio system ($875)

Price as tested: $69,570

More 3-Series price and availability information

 

Quick Hits

The great: Invigorating acceleration and exhaust note from gutsy turbocharged 6-cylinder engine;  nimble handling; nicely finished interior

The good: Broad range of available technology features; spacious trunk

The not so good: Steep prices get even steeper as options are added; a manual transmission is not available

 

John Biel

When Consumer Guide tested an all-new-for-2019 BMW 3-Series sport sedan, we said that it wouldn’t be long before its 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine—the only powerplant available at introduction of the seventh-generation model—had company. It took as little as the flip of a model year for a second engine, a six, to appear in the 2020 M340i.

2020 BMW M340i

Compared to the base-engine 330i models, the M340i’s visual upgrades are subtle: a decklid badge, unique front and rear bumper treatments and uniquely textured inserts on the BMW-signature twin-nostril front grille.

Per BMW custom, the 3.0-liter mill’s half dozen pistons line up single file. With the aid of a twin-scroll turbocharger, it produces 382 horsepower at 5800-6200 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque as soon as 1800 rpm. The power is harnessed by an 8-speed automatic transmission with multiple driving modes, and distributed either to the rear wheels or, in the xDrive version, to all four wheels.

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2020 BMW M340i

Our tester’s cabin was impeccably assembled from high-quality materials. The aluminum “tetragon” trim on the center console and storage-bin cover is an especially nice touch.

The engine is smooth and consistently strong, with peak torque available all the way up to 5000 rpm. The transmission has launch control available for improved off-the-line traction during acceleration, and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for drivers who want to call their own shots. Dialing up the “Sport” or “Sport+“ modes enables altered shift programs for brisker acceleration that’s not only felt but also heard through a snarling exhaust that raps with menace on downshifts. BMW says an xDrive M340i like the one CG tested will do 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, 0.3 less than the rear-drive car that is 119 pounds lighter.

Performance like that typically comes at the expense of fuel economy, but the M340i doesn’t necessarily rack up a big penalty at the pump. This driver recorded 23.4 mpg after putting 172 miles on the xDrive test car, with 50 percent city-style operation. The EPA estimates that it should get 25 mpg in combined city/highway driving, and 22 mpg in city use or 30 mpg on the highway.

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2020 BMW M340i

Rear seat space is a bit cramped for adults–especially tall ones–but the rear climate controls/vents, 12V charge port, and dual USB charging ports are welcome comfort/convenience features.

The chassis is festooned with M Sport componentry: suspension, brakes, and antispin rear differential. Standard alloy wheels are 18×7.5 inches with all-season run-flat tires, though the test car was outfitted with extra-cost 19-inch wheels and performance rubber. Set up this way, the default “Comfort”-mode ride isn’t too soft, yet it’s generally comfortable. Select the sportier modes and ride stiffens while baseline-great handling gets a little firmer—all the more so with the adaptive-suspension option. Excellent steering and braking leave a driver with a heightened sense of control and confidence.

That’s the sport part. The rest is sedan.

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2020 BMW M340i

There’s a generous 17.0 cubic feet of trunk space, and the rear seat backs fold down to expand the volume further.

The 2019 redesign introduced a 3-Series that was longer and wider than before. It feels roomier across the interior, and has good head- and legroom in both rows. Cabin storage doesn’t quite seem scaled to match, however, with modest  capacity to the glove box and console bin, and small pockets (with bottle holders) in each door. A pull-out dash bin is at the left of the steering column, and net pouches are attached to the backs of the front seats. Pairs of covered cup holders reside in the forward part of the console and the pull-down rear armrest. Trunk space is about average, and intruded upon by covered gooseneck hinges. Still, loading is uncomplicated. Small items can be contained in net-faced bins in the rear corners. Rear 40/20/40 seats fold just about flat and are nearly flush with the trunk floor but for a small gap at the pivot point.

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2020 BMW M340i

The M340i is powered by a delightfully smooth, potent turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder that cranks out 382 horsepower. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, but our tester was upgraded with a $600 set of 19-inchers.

M340i base prices with delivery are $54,995 as a rear-drive model or $56,995 with xDrive. In place of the usual vertical bars in the famous BMW grille “kidneys” these cars are detailed with what looks a little like wind-farm windmill blades. An aerodynamic body kit and rear spoiler are included to aid stability and handling. SensaTec leatherette covers the seats and instrument panel—though the test car’s seats were clad in $1450 worth of Vernasca leather. Aluminum trim in a tetragon surface pattern brightens the cabin. The nicely supportive front sport buckets have power adjustment and memory setting for the driver. Keyless entry, push-button starting, a moonroof, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped M Sport steering wheel, configurable Live Cockpit Professional instrumentation, somewhat-fussy iDrive infotainment control, Apple CarPlay compatibility, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, frontal collision warning, and daytime pedestrian detection are also among standard features.

As we’ve noted in other BMW tests, the manufacturer leaves a lot of luxury and convenience choices in the hands (and wallets) of customers. CG’s test car was built up to a considerable $69,570 with packages and stand-alone options that brought the likes of blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, heated steering wheel and front seats, head-up display, automatic high-beam headlights, power trunklid, ambient lighting, and wireless charging to the party.

Whatever one might end up costing, the 2020 M340i is the most powerful 3-Series car ever that’s not a full-on M version (and another one of those is said to be coming, likely as a 2021 model). If the driving leaves you more breathless than the payments, then it’s worth the money.

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2020 BMW M340i

Fresh off its redesign last year, the BMW 3-Series sedan lineup gains a brawny 6-cylinder-powered M340i model as a step-up companion to the 4-cylinder 330i. You’ll pay a significant premium for the extra suds (and the additional standard equipment that comes along with it), but the impressive power will be worth it to some shoppers.

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