My BMW M340i LCI: Initial impressions & how it compares to my ex 530i

The seating comfort is excellent but when compared to the 530i, it does fall behind in some aspects. The seats are firm and great for long journeys.

BHPian 84.monsoon recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi all, have been very slow on updates on my M340i. Had a slight shoulder injury which made driving a bit painful and still recuperating from it. Plus, had some very hectic weeks at work and still not had a chance to go on a long drive with the car.

Got a full body self healing PPF done at OCD Chennai and they did a great job. There were a few small bubbles in the piano black surfaces which they corrected after 10 days (today). They threw in a complimentary wash and polish and the car looks fabulous right now.

Have been on several short city drives. Coming from owning a G30 530i till mid-last year, below are my very initial impressions and notes:

  • The engine can be a beauty or a beast and changes character in milliseconds! When driving sedately in Ecopro or Comfort mode, the engine is butter smooth and one can hardly hear it. The refinement is equal to the 530i in every way when driven like this. But the moment you spot a good 200 meters of empty smooth road and push the accelerator a bit (even in Comfort mode), the car lunges forward forcefully, pushing your behind firmly into the seat! Before you know it, you have covered that gap and slowed down again to a crawl.
  • The Ecopro mode is very livable in the city, if one wants a calm and peaceful drive. While in the 530i, the Ecospro makes you feel impatient, in the M340i, it feels like a normal luxury car. The Ecopro in the M340i feels like the Comfort mode in the 530i. The Comfort mode in the M340i almost feels like the Sport mode in the 530i (except for the higher engine RPM part). The car is ready to lunge forward at any time and the acceleration behaviour is similar to the 530i's sport mode, however the engine RPM is lower and so it feels calmer.
  • The Sport mode is insane. I have not had much of a chance to try this, but the one time I did, it was in the middle of an otherwise tame city drive for about 5 KMs in the Comfort mode. The gearbox took a split second to get alert (probably because I had been driving so. tamely for the last 20 minutes) and then Wham! The car bolted forward like a bullet, totally catching me by surprise. The g-forces pin you to the back of the seat and whoosh, the car is flying! I would not recommend this mode in the city till one gets used to how the car behaves in this mode fully.
  • The seating comfort is excellent but when compared to the 530i, it does fall behind in some aspects. The seats are firm and great for long journeys. The seat length is excellent with adjustable thigh support which is standard on most BMWs. However, The sport seats are not very wide and hug your sides with the seat's prominent side bolsters in the middle or inner setting of the adjustable bolster. Even with not too broad a frame, I felt uncomfortable in those positions, and had to set the bolsters closer to the outside position. There is no lumbar support which is a bit of a miss.
  • The one thing I am unhappy with the arm rests built into the door. These are of a soft plastic material, but not padded and too narrow. Especially for taller people, with the driver seat set back, your arm is resting on a 2 inch wide area and the edge does feel had where it ends. This can be uncomfortable on long journeys and I have to try and see if three is any aftermarket solution to made the resting area wider and softer.
  • The carbon fibre trim in many parts of the dash is truly top notch and elevates the elegance of the cabin several fold! This is the one regret of my friend who has a pre-LCI M340i - apparently the BMW accessory to get it fitted after market is very expensive!
  • The massive touch screen will take a lot of getting used to. The number of features and functions one can access from idrive 8 seems endless and I will need to take quite some time to understand all these.

The best part of the car's appearance is the Dravit Grey color. It is quite a chameleon. Depending on the amount of light overall and whether or not direct sunlight falls on it. it can appear almost black, or a grey that is several shades light (almost close to Steel Grey on a very bright day) or anything in between depending on the extent of light. Under direct sunlight, the flakes of gold underneath the surface start to shimmer through and the pain starts to give off a sort of "aura". The piano black front bumper and the wide piano black trims all over the front and back as well as the shiny black M-mirror contrast so well with the grey on a bright day. On the tanzanite blue, I find the contrast between the black trims and the dark blue body color is not sufficient to highlight either. Since I had an imperial blue BMW before, I was initially looking for a different color when I booked the car and did a lot of research on the Bimmerpost forums and that is where I got to know what a special color Dravit Grey is. I went out on a limb to get the Dravit Grey color for the M340i, much against the wishes of some of the family members, but am I glad I did that, as this is one of the colors with the most character in any of the cars I have owned.

Posting a couple of pictures of the car, some earlier in the evening under direct sunlight when it looks much lighter and shinier and one later in the evening with poorer light, and the last one even later, when the car looks much darker:

Can't wait to go for a long drive and collect some more impressions to write a full ownership review. Looks like it won't be till March when I will get a chance to do that.

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