The BMW M340i is not quite the BMW M3, but not quite the base model 330i. But what is nice is the standard non-controversial grille that has put so many people off the M3’s new snout. Forgetting the highly debated grille, the BMW M340i offers daily performance wrapped in a luxury package. For years it was the benchmark sports sedan. It continues this tradition even in the face of electric offerings (such as the BMW i4). BMW has perfected the inline six-cylinder engine, and it’s nice to see it soldier on in the face of electricity. Moreover, the turbocharged powerplant delivers electricity to the driver!
Smooth as a Motor
BMW’s 3-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six was enhanced with 48V mild hybrid technology. At traffic lights, the BMW becomes whisper-quiet, but the battery brings the engine to life without shuddering. It’s impressive how smooth the BMW is, especially when considering the turbochargers used for extra power. Fuel economy is around 26 mpg, which I got in my test vehicle. That’s impressive, considering I was romping on it!
BMW notes that a 48V startergenerator acts as an electric drive unit to assist the engine, allowing it to operate within a load range optimized for efficiency as often as possible. It also offers the driver an electric boost effect that can instantly give the engine sharper response when accelerating off the line or a quick burst of speed for passing. It significantly refines the operation of the automatic start/stop function.
Looks the Part
One of the first things you notice about the M340i are the new badges with the colorful surrounds. I originally thought these were the new badges of all BMWs. However, these special badges are a throwback to legendary racing BMWs of the past. According to BMW, to mark the 50th anniversary of BMW M, the 2023 BMW M340i models are offered with the classic BMW Motorsport roundels on the hood, trunk, and wheel center caps. With its staggered semicircles in blue, violet and red, the anniversary emblem is reminiscent of the original BMW M GmbH trademark that was first used on racing cars in 1973. M-specific exterior features such as large air intakes and aerodynamically optimized details also help to give the 3 Series a racy look. The BMW M340i features distinctive design elements, most notably the mesh-design BMW old-school kidney grille, 19-inch wheels, trapezoidal tailpipes and an M rear spoiler painted in body color. This gives all the looks of a tough car while leaving the controversial new M3 grill behind.
Ready for the Big Screen
While many vehicles such as Tesla are using a large portrait infotainment screen in the center of the dashboard, BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac are going with longer landscape displays that incorporate the driver’s information system and central infotainment system in one unit. The large, curved display features a frameless glass surface that’s angled slightly toward the driver. The driver looks at a 12.3-inch screen, and the infotainment system takes up 14.9 inches in the center of the dash. The two displays merge into one single high-resolution unit. It’s a touchscreen for those who don’t like iDrive control units.
More Mobility from Your Mobile Device
BMW wants customers to be able to link up their 5G devices without being prying. If the customer selects the optional Personal eSIM, DSDA (Dual SIM Dual Active) capability, it allows both the Personal eSIM and the Vehicle SIM to be active simultaneously. This way, you can use the communications and connectivity functions covered by your mobile provider from the vehicle with ease. The vehicle essentially turns into another device like a smartphone or tablet. The mobile reception for data and telephone functions is significantly improved by the vehicle’s own 5G antenna system. Up to 10 devices can be connected to the internet via the mobile hotspot.
Harman-Kardon has been a provider for BMW for years. This system features 16 speakers and a 600-watt amplifier. Overall, the clarity of the system is great. I appreciated a separate control for the surround sound effect. This way, you can dial in the amount you prefer. There are two 8.5-inch woofers in the front of the car stuffed underneath the seats. For those who want more bass, an independent subwoofer in the trunk from an independent mobile enhancement retailer would really help everything along.
Coming in at $66K, the BMW M340i is not inexpensive, but sets a benchmark for sporty sedans.