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Old 5th March 2021, 12:00   #1
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Default BMW M340i xDrive Review

BMW M340i xDrive Review

BMW M340i Pros:

• Ferocious 6-cylinder turbo-petrol motor with 382 BHP on tap! Lives for 7,000 rpm
• All-wheel-drive gives the BMW M340i leech-like grip & solid stability levels
• Sporty, well-tuned exhaust note is addictive at high revs
• The ZF 8-speed AT is the best gearbox in the segment. Fast & smooth
• 0 – 100 in 4.4 seconds with 4-door everyday practicality. Go touring with the family!
• Lovely cabin, premium build, very supportive seats & a fab driving position
• BMW’s strong track record for reliability (among the luxury marques)
• 5-star NCAP rating, awesome brakes & a laundry list of safety equipment

BMW M340i Cons:

• Ride is much firmer than a regular 3-Series. Liveable, but you feel everything on the road
• Sad boot space with a spare wheel
• We don’t like the radiator grille, same rim design (as the 330i) and gunmetal-coloured ORVMs
• Rear floor hump is enormous! Car is better as a 4-seater than 5
• Your fuel costs will be a lot higher than say, a 530d
• Runflat tyres come with many compromises, wear out soon & are expensive to replace
• We hate the all-digital instrument console. Also, the rev counter is weirdly inverted
• Some irritants such as the lack of keyless entry (!!!), w-i-d-e 6 meter turning radius & annoying speed warnings

Last edited by Aditya : 5th March 2021 at 12:01.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:00   #2
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The BMW M340i’s arrival in India is great news for driving enthusiasts! It is an “almost M3” in many ways & one of the fastest accelerating cars that is made in India. Yes, the M340i is locally assembled in BMW’s Chennai factory. The obvious appeal of such sport sedans is not just the sheer performance on tap, but also the practicality. You can use this car every day for your drive to work, as well as long distance road trips with your family. It’s just like a regular 3-Series when it's time to work. Further, while the straight-6 motor will perform best on high octane petrol (we tried it), we ran it on regular octane too and faced no issues.


Front on, the M340i looks very similar to the M-Sport kitted regular 3s. There are minor changes, in terms of the grilles on the bottom of the bumper, and the kidney grille design. We don't like the radiator grille design at all and would swap it within 24 hours of taking delivery. The car gets gunmetal type highlights all over, instead of chrome. This treatment looks okay at the front, but the same on the ORVMs isn't to our tastes. Looks very after-market'ish:

The front 3/4th look is slightly more aggressive, thanks to the small changes made in the bumper. I'm glad the M340i gets these minor changes. If it was exactly the same body kit, it would have been silly:

The M340i comes with laser lights which is as good as it gets from BMW. Note the DRLs which now look proper, unlike the underscore-like DRLs of the regular 3 Series. The lights are adaptive, and have auto high beam assist, variable light distribution and all other tech possible. They perform superbly!

A closer look at the front showing the new kidney grille design (I would personally change it to the M Performance gloss black version right away) & the larger intakes in the side of the bumper. Do note the fog lights are done away with on the M340i. Many carmakers are saying there is no need for separate foglamps anymore, in light of (pun intended) advanced headlamps:

The side profile is pretty much the same, though I wish the M340i got a different wheel design:

The wheels are the same design as on the 330i M-Sport. I didn't particularly like the design on that, and I don't like them here either. I wish BMW had given a sweeter design on this special car, to differentiate the M340i. Anyway, this is one of the easiest things to change on a car, so no stress here. Staggered 225/255 runflat tyre setup. Notice the larger M-Sport brake calipers peeping out from behind the wheel:

Rear 3/4th view is again very similar to the regular M Sport kit, except for smaller stuff like the diffuser, exhaust tips and lip spoiler. They do look sportier, no doubt. The staggered tyre setup with 255s at the rear (225 at the front) gives the car a meaty stance & makes the rear look "tight":

Another look at the rear, the small changes will only be caught by an enthusiast's eye:

The meaty trapezoidal exhaust tips, and the sportier diffuser:

M340i badging also in gunmetal. When its got an M in the badge, you know it means business. Also check out the subtle lip spoiler on the rear deck lid:

XDrive isn't a badge we normally see on a BMW sedan in India. This is probably the first, apart from the big daddy M5:

Last edited by Aditya : 5th March 2021 at 12:01.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:00   #3
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The all-black interior definitely looks sporty. Blue stitching and alcantara/leather combo is great:

The driver's area with the M-Sport steering wheel that is just wonderful to hold:

M340i logo in the middle to let you know what car you're driving. We hate this digital instrument cluster's styling. What's worse, the rev counter is unnecessarily inverted, making it confusing. That said, the M340i gets a colour HUD with prominent race car-like redline alerts, which we were using more than this silly cluster:

Superbly supportive front seats with blue contrast stitching and perforated alcantara in the center. The perforated alcantara has a blue background, which looks really cool:

A closer look at the materials used. Notice the M colours on the piping. Also, the leather is not proper leather, it's sensatec (artificial). So, it's a heat magnet when parked in the sun:

Even the seatbelts have the M colours on them - these small touches really enhance the sporty feeling of the cabin:

The aluminium trim is pleasing to look at. Thank god no wood was used!

Harman Kardon speakers have a nice aluminium speaker grill. Sound quality is fantastic:

Last edited by Aditya : 5th March 2021 at 12:02.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:00   #4
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Driving the 3.0L Turbo-Petrol AT

This is what most of us have been waiting to get the word on = how the M340i drives. The newer B58 engine packs quite a punch with 382 BHP and 500 Nm, and it sounds slightly better than the previous N55/S55 engine too. We've already had this motor here for a short while in other cars like the X5/X7, but in a vehicle of this size, it is something special. The power on tap makes it an "almost M3", because the ratings & performance are comparable to earlier-gen M3s. What's more, a simple remap will take the M340i to 440 BHP (do it after the warranty though).

Upon coming to life, there is a nice muted roar from the mufflers, which stays for a couple of seconds until the cold start is completed. You immediately realise there is something special lurking under the hood. The engine then settles down into a smooth idle, characteristic of a BMW straight-6. The M340i has a pleasing sound, and it makes us want to slap on a louder exhaust ASAP. The engine screams towards the redline, has a few burbles on deceleration and liftoff, and gives out a sporty sound on upshifts .

The gearbox is the renowned 8-speed ZF, and not much needs to be said about this AT, because just like Porsche, BMW almost always gets it spot on. This is no exception. It's near perfectly matched to the engine, shifts up quickly, and doesn't hesitate to downshift with just a jab on the A-pedal. I couldn't find a reason to complain, and I did look hard for areas of improvement! The way that BMW tunes its engines & gearboxes is the best in the business (matched only by Porsche).

The car has a very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dual personality. It's an angel when you need it to be, and an absolute monster when you floor the pedal. Within the city, the low end torque is great and with imperceptible turbo lag, the 340i was easy to drive around in Bombay. The steering is light, the engine happily chugs along at low RPMs and the gearbox upshifts early, riding the torque wave. It's very similar to the 330i to drive slowly, except that it's a bit more effortless due to the larger displacement + the ride is noticeably firmer. Once there is a bit of place to open the engine up, you realise that gaps get closed quickly, and overtaking maneuvers are done way too easily. Simply tap & shoot.

But the true fun of the B58 is pushing it, and pushing it h-a-r-d. A long open road with this car is driving pleasure redefined! The engine makes a throaty & sporty sound, which gets amplified as the revs rise...and the soundtrack gets better and better till the redline. Throttle response is instantaneous, the 6-cylinder eagerly revs to 7000 rpm and loves to stay in the red zone. The mid-range too gives you a solid shove into the seat, and the pull doesn't taper off even at high RPMs, and then you're onto the next gear, and the next! The 340i gets to seriously crazy speeds without much effort, and the acceleration will give many more expensive cars a run for their money. 100 gets demolished in 4.4 seconds - this is probably quicker than the M3 from 2 generations ago, and that's saying something. Highway and expressway driving are truly enjoyable with the big reserves of power & sorted handling. Acceleration from even beyond 100 km/h is strong, with the turbo-petrol being relentless. I can't imagine how much fun this would be on an unrestricted Autobahn or race track.

The X-Drive (AWD) system is a first for BMW India in a sedan (non-proper M, of course). And it did remind me of its bigger brother (or maybe, father?) the M5 in the way it allows the M340i to accelerate off the line. Competitors like the C43 and S5 are all wheel drive too, but the 340i just has the edge in terms of how "the feeling" is. It makes you want to push harder, and the X-Drive is calibrated such so as to remove understeer which is characteristic of such systems. You can feel the bias onto the rear wheels, and the feeling is similar to a RWD, with the front wheels getting torque to just assist with traction. That being said, it does grip like a proper AWD in corners, making you carry through speeds you wouldn't normally do, with complete confidence. It sticks like a damn leech to the tarmac ! This also has to do with the M-Sport rear differential, which is capable of fully locking. The M-Sport diff is a great addition and can be felt working its magic when the M340i is being hustled. The steering is direct & accurate enough. While you know what's going on with the front wheels, it's not as communicative or feel-some as the old BMW pure hydraulic units on RWDs. Maybe it was me, but the weight of the steering felt a tad bit more than in the regular 3.

The M-Sport suspension is what comes on the M340i, and it is lowered by 10 mm with stiffer springs + differently tuned dampers. While the ride is noticeably stiffer than the regular 330i, it is quite useable on a daily basis. Ride quality is acceptable for a 4.4 sec 0 - 100 sports sedan, although it is firm and you do feel everything on the road. You as a petrol-head will eventually come around to it, but your parents will tell you to go easy on bad roads. Liveable, albeit not plush at all (not even close). At high speeds, the stability is exceptional and the M340i is rock solid. Even quick lane changes are taken without fuss. In fact, it is very surprising what all one can do with this car, and how much it can be pushed into corners without any fuss at all. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 ZP runflats are the first to give up, screeching away, far before the suspension is near its limits. Mid-corner bumps weren't scary either, and even the largest of expansion joint bumps on the expressway didn't manage to shake the car off its course. She literally "sticks" to the road. On the flip side, the car can feel skittish on typically Indian broken roads.

What will really drive you up the wall is BMW's 80 / 120 km/h warning system which is indisputably the worst in India. It's loud and it interrupts the music playing. Enthusiasts will surely go to a tuner and get this disabled.

The M-Sport brakes are larger with 348 mm rotors at the front and 345s at the rear. The front calipers get 4 pistons each, and provide ample stopping power to slow the car down from high speeds, multiple times, without any sign of fade. I tried high speed braking and the car stopped on a dime. What I also liked is the tuning of the brake pedal; it feels sharp & very enthusiast-oriented. These brakes are needed with such a capable drivetrain and chassis, and help in extracting the most from the M340i.

Last edited by Aditya : 5th March 2021 at 12:02.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:00   #5
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Spectacular review of a spectacular car . Thanks for sharing, Akshay! Got to love your writing style, this one seems to be straight from the heart.

For well over a decade now, the "530d" has been the default mainstream BMW sedan for enthusiasts. No longer. The M340i is the new boss, be it in terms of performance, handling, grip levels, soundtrack etc. and with almost equal cabin space to match. This is the new "default" choice among German sedans for a petrolhead.

Tunnels get a new ritual . Let the revs drop low, put the window down, take the maniac engine to 7,000 rpm and enjoy that melodious soundtrack:
BMW M340i xDrive Review-1.jpg

Akshay, I know your preferences and you'd probably prefer a pure RWD. Yet there is no denying the sheer grip levels from this AWD. Despite ~400 horses on tap, she has so much poise, it's crazy. Reminds me of the big brother M5 in some ways. Even if I'm generous with the throttle through fast corners, where I know a RWD would start sliding its tail....this car sticks like super glue to the road.

Amazing drag video with its direct competitors, by the talented guys at Throttle House:

Last edited by Aditya : 5th March 2021 at 12:03.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:12   #6
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

Great Review, Well penned down & Quality Pics.

Thanks Akshay1234, GTO & Team for bringing us this review probably in Record Time

I personally believe the B58 Engine is what really makes this car truly special.

One of those cars I've booked without a Test Drive, looking forward

Trust BMW India will price it right.

Last edited by karan561 : 5th March 2021 at 12:20.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:34   #7
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

The Harman Kardon music system will definitely help in keeping the occupants entertained who don’t enjoy the engine and exhaust note so much And the laser lights are a welcome edition as well.

On what fuel was the car tested on? Did you guys try high octane fuel to see what was the power difference over regular fuel?

Also, would the rear occupants complain to much due to the stiffer suspension over a long drive (especially the elderly)?

Last edited by vb-san : 5th March 2021 at 13:06. Reason: Typo
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:43   #8
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

The unique thing about this car IMO is the ZF transmission. For anyone coming from a dual clutch transmission, it would feel less than stellar. But may appeal to the pragmatic side due to its stellar reliability and robustness. It is not the shift times and technical specs, but a feel of DCT is very sporty by nature.

Would be nice if you could add few details about what competition offers in this category.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:44   #9
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

Great review Akshay!

You have successfully captured most of the pros and cons of the car but seriously, the car is so good that one is unlikely to pay much attention to the cons. For most owners, this car is likely to be one among 4 or 5 other cars in their fleet so the cons can be overlooked for the most part.

I had the chance to drive the M340i xDrive back in May of 2019 and was immediately blown away by the explosive and relentless power delivery of the B-58 motor.

Link: (Driven: The BMW 3-Series G20 M340i xDrive & 330i M Sport))

Having driven a 2011 M3 in the past I was ready for an underwhelming experience, but this motor just blows your socks away.

In fact, I can safely say that unless you plan to track your car on a regular basis, there is hardly justification to blow your money on a true blue “M” car unless of course, you’re ready to live with that horrendous grill.

I’m so glad that BMW has decided to launch this car in India and hopefully, they would price it sensibly between Rs 65 to 70 lacs (Ex-showroom) so that a lot of M aficionados can experience how a blue-blooded BMW drives.
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Old 5th March 2021, 13:04   #10
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

Thank You Akshay1234, GTO & Team for the Highly Detailed review and Pics.

The M340i has its own charm and identity when compared to C43 And S5, And I have a feeling that BMW India will price it aggressively.

Although the car looks nice But the alloy wheel design is a bit too conservative for such a beautiful car, Hope Bmw India will provide some styling packs/ Accessories at least as an option.

If Someone is looking for a change/ upgrade from 530d and is open for a petrol Motor, then IMO M340i is worth looking at.

Last edited by MSJ : 5th March 2021 at 13:09.
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Old 5th March 2021, 13:14   #11
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

What a fantastic review! Puts to rest all the little doubts I had about this car. Team Bhp approved!

Thank you specially for the observations on the ride. Looking forward to a delivery before 15 March 2021.
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Old 5th March 2021, 13:23   #12
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

Debadge this car and it is the ultimate sleeper. Only a purist will know what it is and what it is capable of. If I had it, I'd put a 320D badge at the back

Super review and this time its come really early.
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Old 5th March 2021, 13:27   #13
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

Fantastic review of a fantastic Car
The one thing a keen driver would miss are the "adaptive" Suspension. But who needs them on the tracks.
This is one hell of a Sport sedan and would be fun to drive on the road as well as on the tracks.

Last edited by GTO : 5th March 2021 at 14:06. Reason: Let's focus on our own review please - thanks
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Old 5th March 2021, 14:28   #14
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

This is one Brilliant review of a brilliant sedan. It will be a delight to drive this as a daily drive or should i say a sleeper car.

Congratulations to folks who have booked

I also wish they offered it in lot more exciting colors like 2 series gran coupe
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Old 5th March 2021, 14:31   #15
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Default Re: BMW M340i xDrive Review

What a review man

your review is spot on. I got this engine in a different avatar. As you mentioned, it runs better on High octane petrol and very hungry!

Originally Posted by Akshay1234 View Post
I can't imagine how much fun this would be on an unrestricted Autobahn
I am not sure, how an M340i is to drive on Autobahn. I have this meaty B58 in M140i Manual-RWD avatar, it is ADDICTIVE.
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