Meet the most powerful non-M3 3 Series models ever.
BMW is debuting its most powerful non-M3 3 Series to date at this year’s LA Auto Show. The 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive, rear- and all-wheel drive, respectively, are both powered by the same turbocharged, twin-scroll 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine with a total of 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. To put this output into some perspective, the highly regarded naturally aspirated V8-powered E90 M3 produced a total of 414 hp and 295 lb-ft. The outgoing F80 M3 has 453 hp and 443 lb-ft when equipped with the Competition Package. BMW claims the M340i can sprint to 60 mph in only 4.2 seconds. The F80 M3 does the same deed in 3.7 seconds.
Given these specs, imagine for a moment the next M3’s capabilities. In the US, the M340i will come only with one gearbox, an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and equipped with Launch Control. Despite AWD being optional, the M340i xDrive is still rear-wheel biased. Drifting will not be a problem, if so desired. Drivers can also select from Sport and Sport+ driving modes to enable additional power to be transferred to the rear wheels during, say, cornering.
Regardless of whether one opts for RWD or AWD, the M340i is equipped with an electronically-controlled M Sport rear differential that increases traction and improves overall stability. With its 50:50 weight distribution, the sedan’s body rigidity is increased by 25 percent, and even rises to 50 pertain in some areas. This was accomplished in part by increasing springs rates by 20 percent and reducing overall body weight by as much as 121 pounds thanks to the use of high-strength steel and aluminum.
The Adaptive M Suspension featuring electronically controlled dampers is optional while standard items now include M Sport Brakes and Variable Sport Steering. Compared to its immediate predecessor, the new 3 Series, in general, is slightly longer, wider and taller. Despite this, BMW claims the sedan’s overall athletic character is unaffected. Styling wise, we like what BMW has done, though we can see how some may say designers didn’t go far enough. Things like full-LED headlights are standard while Adaptive LED units with BMW Laserlight is optional.
But perhaps it’s the interior that deserves most of the attention. Without question, it’s a big improvement in overall styling, general ergonomics, and luxury. Everything looks and feels far more premium than with any past 3 Series.
BMW says official pricing will be announced closer to when the 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive goes on sale in the US next summer.