The sedan will be locally assembled in the company’s plant in Tamil Nadu which would help in putting a competitive price tag of around Rs 65 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The latest generation of 3 Series, which made its debut back in 2019, was perfectly alright when judged on sportiness and performance, but now, expect the temperature to rise with the onset of the M Performance version.
Familiar dimensions and sportier design
Dimensionally, the 3 Series and the new M340i are quite identical and that is the point where the similarities cease. The front grille is more futuristic, colour coordinated and aptly sits beside the adaptive laser LED headlights. The hood seems a bit more stretched and bolder, thanks to the strong line running over it which flows and blends effortlessly into the side profile.
The 18-inch M-Sport alloy wheels look flawless whether parked or on the move. The L-shaped LED tail lamp is the point of resemblance with other BMW models but again, an aerodynamic spoiler and sporty contours all across the bodywork lend the sense of aggression that we are not used to seeing in the regular 3 Series.
Step inside, everything you see is uncluttered and upmarket. The seats and the steering wheel, for example, are thoroughbred M elements. The iDrive system, digital driver’s display, rotatory dial in the central console are more in line with the other BMW models. Features like a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging and ambient lighting, needless to say, are becoming hygiene across price points.
The only niggle I find is the tight headroom for anybody above 5 feet 10 inches high. The rear seat is decent and is ideal for a chauffeur-driven audience. But I wonder if you are actually paying for an M340i to be driven around. The black interior helps in maintaining the luxury quotient and the snuggish seats are supportive enough when the car is being thrown around the corner.
Engine and performance
You get an exclusive V6 engine with the M340i and I believe that this BMW offering is specifically for someone with an evolved taste and it is not really a car you can just gift someone on a special occasion.
Certain things enrich the 3.0-litre M TwinPower Turbo petrol engine. The aluminium crankcase and cylinder head reduce internal friction and like the bigger Ms, fuel supply is performed utilizing the High Precision Injection technology. A mass moment of inertia reduced by around 25% improves turbine response and a wide opening.
Switch to Sport or Sport+, you would often hear the pops and crackles near the red line. BMW claims lightning 4.4 seconds to 100 kmph for the M340i. The 8-speed Steptronic transmission shifts undetected, in both directions, and leaves no signs of lag.
Ride and handling
The tuning is slightly on the firmer side and that’s understandable given the sporty character of the M340i. When driving around in urban spaces, you have the Eco Pro or the Comfort mode, which tones down the performance and the aggression and the throttle input is much more controlled too. And with these two driving modes, you get to see the human side of this beastly car.
I feel the balance struck with the Eco Pro or the Comfort mode is perfect as the steering becomes slightly less stiff and with the former, you can extract that extra bit of mileage that you want from the M340i.
Unlike the standard 3 Series line-up, the M340i comes with an xDrive all-wheel-drive system and it is one of those features that make the car stand apart in the portfolio. The M-specific chassis is tough and the M-tuned suspension system is slightly stiff and that results in an exhilarating experience whenever you dart the car into corners.
If BMW has planned to target the M340i xDrive to an evolved audience who are looking for the right balance between luxury and a fun-to-drive factor, then the German automaker has played its move right. What is actually fascinating is the fact that BMW India now has the right mix of entry-level sedans ranging from the 2 Series Gran Coupe to the top-of-the-line M340i xDrive.