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It has almost been less than two years since the seventh-gen 3 Series was launched in India. Earlier this year in January, BMW India brought in the long-wheelbase 3 Series Gran Limousine in the country. That however does not seem to be enough and just a couple of months later after the long-wheelbase launch, BMW has come up with the locally-assembled M340i xDrive.
We had a chance to drive the all-new BMW M340i xDrive for a couple of days and boy the car left us staggered. One more thing is that this is the first M car to be assembled in India. So, we took the car and went for a drive in the city and on the highway and here is what we have to say about it.
Exterior & Design
At first glance, when you see the car upfront it will be difficult for you to tell that this is a performance-oriented sedan as there is no M badging on the front grille. However, as you move along the side then you will start to realize that this is not an ordinary 3 series because of the badges and wheels.
At the front, the M340i gets a subtle grille with active air vents that open and close whenever more air is required in the engine bay. Once they are shut they provide better aerodynamics. There is no chrome present on the car, however, the grille looks like its studded with chrome bits, but when you look it up close then you realize that it is brushed silver.
The car also gets the latest BMW laser LED headlights and it is extremely bright. You also get a blue element inside the projector that looks extremely fantastic. The sedan gets an aggressive bumper at the front, that has vents at the side and yes the bumper makes the M340i look really muscular.
Moving on to the side, the first thing that will catch your attention is the small Mbadge on the fender. Then the 18-inch multispoke alloy wheels are from the M division and are finished in dual-tone colour. However, we would have loved to see the wheels completely blacked out because then they would perfectly match with the Sunset Orange paint scheme of the car.
You do not get chrome on the sides either, instead, the garnishing around the window is blacked out completely. You also get a big sunroof and a shark-fin antenna. The M340i does not feature aggressive body lines and creases on the side, but if you see the car from a distance, it shouts business.
Moving on to the rear, the M340i gets a pair of sleek-looking LED taillights and from the rear, you will be able to guess that this is a powerhouse because of the M340i badge, the xDrive badge and the twin exhaust setup. It also gets a reverse parking camera with active guidelines that will help you park in tight spaces easily and yes the image quality from the camera is extremely good.
Interior and Features
The cabin of the M340i is completely blacked out with bits and pieces of brushed silver and Alcantara and because of that, the cabin also looks sporty. There is a lot of soft-touch material present on the door panels and on the dashboard. Speaking about the dash, the centre stage is taken by the 10.25-inch infotainment system that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The touch is really sensitive and does not have any lag.
Talking about more screens, the 12.3-inch instrument cluster is a completely digital one and looks extremely fascinating. However, the displays on the screen do change on changing the modes of the car. The cluster can also be configured according to the driver's needs. Right on top of the cluster is the heads-up-display that also provides a lot of information like if someone is calling or if you want to select a song, hence, keeping the driver's focus on the road.
The steering wheel is also from the M division and is wrapped in leather and has a fantastic grip to it. It gets the M badge but sadly it's not a flat-bottom steering wheel. However, the steering mounted controls are placed nicely and one can toggle through the instrument cluster and the infotainment system through them.
There is a lot of storage space available in the door panel and right below the climate control. Speaking of that, the M340i gets a three-zone climate control. It also gets a number of charging sockets and also a wireless charger for your mobile.
Now, speaking about the seats, the front seats are bucket-shaped and are wrapped in leather and Alcantara. They can be adjusted electrically but only the driver's side gets the seat memory function. However, the seats are comfortable and hold the driver in place, but due to the lack of cushioning, one might need to take a break if going on a long journey. Even the seatbelts get the M stitching.
Coming to the rear seats, They offer good underthing support and the row is much more comfortable than the front seats. You also get a centre armrest with two cup holders. The rear has a display for the third climate control and two type-C charging sockets.
Speaking about the boot, you get 440 litres of boot space, which is more than enough to keep luggage for four passengers. But, if you need more space, then there is a 60:40 split available and you can fold down either side depending upon what luggage you want to put.
Engine & Handling
The M340i xDrive is known for its driving dynamics. Powering the sedan is an in-line six-cylinder, twin-scroll turbo, 3.0-litre engine. It produces a maximum of 385bhp of power at 5800rpm and a peak torque of 500Nm between 1850rpm and 5000rpm. The powertrain comes mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission with power sent to all the wheels.
Performance-wise, the M340i is just outstanding, it is literally like a wolf dressed in a sheep's outfit. When you want to cruise around peacefully it can do that, but once you floor the car, all hell will break loose. The car can go from a knot to 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds and that's fast. It also has a top speed that is electronically limited to 250km/h.
It also has three driving modes and the best part is the exhaust note of the car. When you are driving in Eco Pro and Comfort, there is barely any noise, there is a humming noise, but it's not loud at all. Switch it to sport and the exhaust will come to life. It has a valve inside that opens up and the car sounds so sweet after that. If you pull the car post the 4,000rpm mark, every time you shift you will be able to hear the exhaust crackle and the same goes when you downshift.
The throttle response changes every time you change the mode and it is very crisp on Sport. Not only throttle but the steering wheel and the suspension also stiffen up so that the car can perform when you want it to. There is a sudden surge of acceleration that will push the occupants in the car back to their seats till you leave the throttle.
Speaking about the suspension, the M340i gets stiff suspension. Yes, you will be able to feel a lot of things that the tyres will hit on the road. On Eco Pro and Comfort mode the suspension is slightly soft and in Sport, it stiffens up. The car handles extremely well, thanks to the all-wheel-drive system (xDrive).
There is so much confidence that the car puts inside the driver when you want to go fast. The car cuts through corners like a hot knife through butter and not only that if you switch off traction control, one can even do a power slide, but it is extremely tough as is it very difficult to lose traction on the 340i.
When you are going fast you will need better-stopping power and the sedan is fitted with the M callipers and coupled with the Michelin tyres the M340i has enough bite from the brakes to halt the vehicle from high speeds.
As far as mileage is concerned, since it is a sporty car one would not accept decent mileage from it. But that is not true, if you drive in Eco mode you will see the figures cross the 10km/l mark, but if you are driving aggressively, that one will obviously do, you will see figures between 6 to 7km/l.
The BMW M340i xDrive is one of the sportiest sedans that will go on sale in the Indian market soon. Along with the sporty characteristics of the sedan, it is also packed with a host of features and luxury elements offering a premium look and feel to it. We really loved how the car performed and the M340i will definitely make you experience the best of both worlds and will definitely give the other fast car a run for their money. The car has not been launched yet, but we expect the price to be between the Rs 65 to 70 Lakh mark ex- showroom.