382 horsepower BMW 3 Series To Fall In Love With

Just before its official unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show, BMW released the first specifications about the best G20 3 Series revealed so far - the M340i xDrive. It is not an M3, but it is really, really close to being one. Actually, the M340i is the most powerful 3 Series ever revealed. Save for previous two generations of the M3.

Taking the G20 3 Series architecture to a level unachieved by any BMW 340i of before, the 2020 BMW M340i xDrive comes with a standard, electronically controlled, mechanical limited slip differential, a 382 horsepower engine, and specially tuned eight-speed transmission with Launch Control.

Update 12/3/2018: We’ve updated this review with new images taken at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check them out in the gallery below!

  • 2020 BMW M340i xDrive
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    382 @ 6500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    369 @ 4500
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

BMW M340i Exterior

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807981

Zooming over some comments about the new M340i on the Internet, I found out that people aren’t really fond of its front end. The biggest concern seems to be the slightly too busy central part of the front end.

The kidney grille features some strange pattern, similar to the one on the latest Z4.

Also, bumper intrusions in the headlights took the M340i styling closer to showbusiness and not just business. Although BMW revealed a black painted car only, the front end does project a somewhat different aura compared with the cars that came before. However, you have to understand that this one competes with the S4, the AMG C43, and even the IS 350 F Sport. Some of them are equally flamboyant in the front.

Now, I have to tell you that we need to see the car live before making any conclusions about its looks. Personally, I don’t mind a front end like this at all. I expect the M340i to be a low machine that hugs the road, so the front end won’t be as prevailing as in these pics.

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807984
The sides are garnished with what seems to be a bit different design for the skirts and cool 18-inch M light alloy wheels.

Glimpse behind them to see awesome blue calipers. I believe even bigger wheels are available via the M Performance Parts catalog. This thing can support 19-inch wheels for sure.

In the rear, you can recognize the M340i thanks to massive exhausts. Two of them. Four will be on the proper M3.

BMW M340i - exterior dimensions

Length inches 185.7
Width inches 71.9
Height inches 56.8
Width including mirrors inches 81.4
Wheelbase inches 112.2
Ground clearance inches 5.4
Turning radius feet 18.7
Track, front inches 62.2
Rear, track inches 61.8

BMW M340i Interior

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807978

If you remember all the reviews that popped up on the web after the reveal of the new 3 Series in Paris last month, you may remember that everyone praised its cabin and interior design. Well, I was one of those people, and this M340i went one step above it.

Differentiating the M340i cabin from the lesser versions, BMW (and M-Performance people I presume) included standard sports seats in the mix with M-car specific upholstery.

Of course, pay a bit more, and you’ll get cool leather upholstery along with Alcantara. Other M340i specific touches include:

  • BMW Individual dark headliner
  • M steering wheel with metal shift paddles
  • Aluminum details
  • Special graphics on the instrument cluster display

Obviously, a focus on sport prevails in the cabin and gives the M340i xDrive far more character and mystery. Don’t think for a second that the M340i lacks anything in terms of onboard tech or luxury. It does not.

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807999

BMW M340i - interior dimensions

Shoulder width front inches 56.0
Shoulder room rear inches 54.6
Legroom front inches 42.0
Legroom rear inches 35.2
Headroom front inches 38.7
Headroom rear inches 37.6
Trunk volume (SAE) ft³ 17.0

BMW M340i Drivetrain and Performance

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807995

One can really appreciate BMW’s dedication to building sports saloons. The M340i seems to be a testament to all of the ideology behind the Ultimate Driving Machine. Yes, the eight-speed transmission is the only one available. No manual here, but then again, even if BMW offered one, you would not be buying it. Almost at all.

On the other hand, the eight-speed transmission has been neatly improved for the M340i's requirements. It’s faster on the upshifts and downshifts, and it does come with Launch Control.

You know, for when you simply need to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. That’s quicker than the AMG C43 (4.4 seconds), the Audi S4 (4.6 seconds), and much quicker compared to the underwhelming IS 350 F Sport (5.6 seconds).

Obviously, this is a sports car, and BMW refers to it as such. This means that the 3.0-liter, inline six develops 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This is a huge power. Actually, this is the most powerful non-M 3 series ever. Furthermore, this is the most powerful BMW car with a six-cylinder engine. Again, save for almighty Ms, of course.

2020 BMW M340i xDrive Interior
- image 804648

The xDrive system is a small wonder in itself. It is fully capable of transferring up to 100 percent of power between the front and back axles. However, it is a rear-biased system which means that the majority of the power will go to the back in most conditions.

Select Sport or Sport+ driving mode and the power will remain at the back for as long as possible. While talking about the back wheels, BMW integrated an M Sport differential for much more precise torque distribution. The limited slip diff, with its smart torque distribution, basically improves grip. Or, actually, it makes the most of the available grip. This is, as you can witness, a car with the technological proves of pure runners.

Its suspension has been finely tuned as well. After all, something has to help tame that much power. For that purpose, M Performance provided a variable steering rack, adjustable dampers, and new brakes.

Compared with the standard 3 Series, the new brakes measure 13.7 inches in the front and 13.6 inches in the rear.

Considering that the G20 platform provides a lower center of gravity, 50:50 weight balance, dramatically increased rigidity, and now we have all these cool M Performance parts, I can only imagine that the 2020 BMW M340i could compete with the last-gen M3. In fact, only days ago BMW M produced the last BMW M3 F80. It is the Frozen Dark Grey M3, now in ownership of German entrepreneur Bjorn Schmidt.

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807993

BMW M340i - drivetrain specifications

Engine type B58
Cylinders 6
Valves per cylinder 4
Stroke mm 94.6
Bore mm 82
Displacement cm³ 2,998
Compression rate :1 11.0
Engine power 382 HP @ 5,000 – 6,500 RPM
Engine torque 369 LB-FT @ 1,600 – 4,500 RPM
Transmission type 8HP Sport automatic
0-60 mph seconds 4.2
Top speed (electronically limited) 155 mph

Final Thoughts

2020 BMW M340i xDrive
- image 807984

We are still at least one year off from the introduction of the new BMW M3. However, I feel that the latest G20 2020 M340i xDrive can be an astonishing alternative. It will be, by all accounts, dramatically cheaper compared with the real M3. I guess the BMW M340i’s price tag will be between $40 and $50k (depending on the options). The sports sedan will be available for purchase next year, but you will be able to see it and enjoy it a bit at this month’s LA Auto Show. Do not miss it.

Further reading

2019 BMW 3 Series
- image 798247

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 3 Series.

2021 BMW M3 Spyshots Exterior
- image 799145

Read everything we know in our speculative review of the 2020 BMW M3.

2016 BMW 3 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 629374

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW 3 Series.

Safet Satara
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