The BMW M340i xDrive is a hoot to drive but can it relate back to the older BMWs that were such a driving delight?
BMW sedans at one point in time used to be the stuff of wet dreams for automotive enthusiasts but that diluted over the last few years in the pursuit of a larger consumer base and comfort. However, there now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel as BMW is all set to launch its most powerful 3 Series in India called the M340i xDrive. This is not just a new variant in the company’s 3 Series lineup. It’s a proper M car, which means it is more powerful, is faster around corners and now it also has an all-wheel-drive system. That said, the big question is – can it relate back to the older BMWs that were such a joy to drive or is it just another fast sedan without a soul. Read on to find out!
The BMW M340i xDrive is powered by a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that develops 387 hp of power and a generous 500 Nm of torque. Interestingly, all this power is sent not just to the rear wheels but all four wheels as this car comes with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. You get a launch control system, which means you can launch off the line a lot quicker than normal rear-wheel-drive cars and even around corners, the grip and the control is super impressive. In fact, it is so good that even if you are an ordinary driver, you can go around corners looking like a Pro. One of the better things about this car is that it comes with four drive modes namely Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. When you want to have the maximum fun, switch to Sport or Sport+ mode and interestingly, when you do that, not just the steering, the throttle response and suspension settings change, but even the way how the power is sent to the wheels changes.
When you are in Sport+ mode, more power is sent to the rear wheels to give you a richer rear-wheel-drive car like experience and hence, getting the tail out in this all-wheel-drive car around corners is very much possible. The engine on the BMW M340i xDrive feels awesome! Power is sent to all four wheels and of course, that is shifted variably so that translates into a very good driving experience but more importantly, the engine itself is no less than a gem. Thumb the starter and if you are outside, you can hear the slightly loud growl that settles into a medium purr and you may think that this is just one of the other four-cylinder petrol motors but you couldn’t be mistaken more.
Get behind the wheel, give it some right foot action and this car comes alive. It actually feels like – there are two different people in one body. The car transforms from a usual, comfortable and civilized 3 Series into a crazy fun car that is impressively fast. The engine is fantastic and the gearbox compliments the engine nicely. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is quick in terms of upshifts and downshifts. There is little turbo lag to start with but once you get going, the engine is such a joy machine. It revs cleanly to a little shy of 7,000 rpm which is where you should be shifting gears if you are going all out and when you are doing that, you can also have a lot of fun with the soundtrack that is played by this car.
Just shift to Sport+, take control using paddle shifters, give it some gas and you are instantly shoved back into your seat. It is truly an addictive driving experience! The BMW M340i xDrive is manageable every day yet at the flick of a switch, it turns into one of the best performance sedans you can think of in a certain price range and that is what makes this car such a joy to drive.
The handling is fantastic and the brakes are good. The M engineers have tweaked the brakes and suspension and hence, it is not a standard 3 Series with just more power. It is a proper M version car so it not just goes faster in a straight line and corners but also stops quicker and the body roll is much more in control. The BMW M340i xDrive feels so much engaging to drive than a regular 3 Series and that is how good this car is.
If you are going to drive this car daily, you won’t be having any complaints there as well as the M340i xDrive strikes a perfect balance between sporty driving and everyday practicality. Put it into Comfort mode and this car transforms into a quiet and luxurious sedan and it has all the things that you would expect from a 3 Series and more that make it special.
In terms of visuals, it is like the standard 3 Series with no major changes but there are M-inspired bits all around like the wheels, the M calliper, changes to the grille up front and the badging all around. All these are enough to let people on the outside and occupants on the inside realise that this is not your regular 3 Series sedan but is something wilder.
So if you are someone who is not having fun lately in life and don’t remember the last time when the wild kid in you stepped outside and had fun, well, this is the car that will bring back the child in you and this is the car you need to buy. Being a locally assembled model means that you don’t need to sell multiple organs to buy this car and a few lesser might do the trick. We are expecting this car to be priced in the range of Rs 65 to 70 lakh. At this price point, I cannot think of any other car that strikes a perfect balance between comfort, luxury and a thrilling driving experience and if you are looking for all these things, there is no other car that does it so nicely.
After years, I can finally say that BMW has managed to up its game and finally deliver a sedan that is thoroughly engaging to drive. It might not be as good as the BMW cars from the past but yes with the M340i xDrive, they have gotten quite close.
BMW M340i xDrive specifications:
|Engine||2,998 cc, Inline-6, M TwinPower Turbo, Petrol|
|Power||387 hp @ 5,800 rpm|
|Torque||500 Nm @ 1,850-5,000 rpm|
|Transmission||8-speed Automatic with xDrive all-wheel-drive|
|Ground clearance||110 mm|
|Acceleration||0–100 kmph in 4.4 seconds|
|Top speed||250 kmph|
|Drive modes||ECO Pro / COMFORT / SPORT / SPORT+|
|M Sport brakes||348 mm (Front)/ 345 mm (Rear)|
|Expected price||Rs 65-70 lakh (ex-showroom)|
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