Thursday, October 10, 2019


BMW’s 3-Series has been around for over four decades, and now the German automaker has taken its so-called “entry” level luxury sedan to a new level.

The 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive now in showrooms are the most powerful non-M 3 Series yet. With a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine (382 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque), the M340i xDrive moves from zero-to-60 in 4.2 seconds.

That ranks right up there with the vaunted M3 with an optional Competition package!

Yet the M340i is civilized enough to earn mileage ratings of 22 miles-per-gallon city, 30 highway and 25 combined.

About the only bone to pick in the way of powertrain is that the only transmission offered is an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters for manual shifting. No manual is available. (Sigh.)

The engine is not the only facet that gets niceties from the “M” grab bag.

Included in the base $54,000 MSRP ($54,995 including destination and delivery) are M Sport brakes, M differential, M sport steering wheel, and an M rear spoiler for a sporty appearance.

Adaptive M suspension is available for an extra $700, and included at no extra cost are LED headlights with cornering lights, 14-way power adjustable sport seats with lumbar support, navigation featuring a 10.25-inch screen, a moonroof, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, a wifi hotspot, and variable sport steering.

Of course, BMW also offers a lot of extras, perhaps too many in fact. You can replace the standard sound system with Harmon Kardon Surround Sound ($875) and add remote engine start ($300) and special ambient lighting ($250).

That only begins to run up the final price.

Throw in packages like the Executive Package (automatic high beams, gesture control and special lighting), Drivers Assistance Package (Active Driving Assistant Pro, blind spot and lane departure warning), Drivers Assistance Pro Package (extended traffic jam assistant), Premium Package (heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and head-up display), and Cooling & HP Tire package) and all of a sudden you’re at a bottom line of $67,070.

If you prefer all-wheel drive to rear-wheel, the xDrive system adds $2,000 to final tab.

What I liked about the 2020 BMW M340i sedan: No manual transmission is offered, but you can get enough in the way of performance by driving in Sport or Sport-plus mode. It’s a real looker from the outside, and the inside lives up to its luxury status.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 BMW M340i sedan: The iDrive 7.0 infotainment system is as fussy as ever to operate and can be distracting to the driver. Options run the M340i from the mid-$50,000 range to nearly $70,000. 

Would I buy the 2020 BMW M340i sedan? There's always the issue of dealing with the operation of the iDrive infotainment system, but the M340i has so much good stuff to offer that shouldn’t be the determining factor in any decision. The real drawback would be the temptation to add too many options and run the price up.

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