How does 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds sound? We thought so.
Set for its North American debut later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the all-new BMW 3 Series is the beginning of a new era for the German automaker’s long-benchmarked luxury sports sedan, now in its seventh generation. And when we say ‘new era’ we also mean the upcoming variants, specifically the next M3. But we’re still at least a year so away from the next M3’s debut.
Today, BMW has released full details for its all-new 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive. In short, they are the most powerful non-M3s of all time. The M340i is, of course rear-wheel-drive while its xDrive counterpart is all-wheel drive. Both are powered by a turbocharged, twin-scroll 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Zero to 60 mph takes just 4.2 seconds. To compare, the current and soon to be outgoing M3, with the upgraded Competition Package, offers up 453 hp and 443 lb-ft, a 0-60 mph sprint in 3.7 seconds. The sole gearbox for North America, as we previously learned, will be an eight-speed automatic. This gearbox does have Launch Control which optimizes traction during acceleration off the line more effectively than before. Prefer doing things manually (because no six-speed manual will be offered)? Use the steering column-mounted shift paddles.
Although AWD is an option, the 340i xDrive remains rear-wheel bias. Selecting Sport and Sport+ driving modes enables additional power to be transferred to the rear wheels when required, such as cornering.
Both RWD and AWD sedans also feature an electronically-controlled M Sport rear differential that not only increases traction, but also improved stability in general. With a near 50:50 weight distribution, overall body rigidity is up by 25 percent, and rises up to 50 percent in certain areas. This further allows the standard M Sport Suspension to do its thing in the best ways possible.
For example, spring rates have been increased by 20 percent without any loss of ride comfort. Overall body weight is down by as much as 121 pounds thanks to increased use of high-strength steels and aluminum.
Buyers can also opt for the Adaptive M Suspension featuring electronically controlled dampers, delivering damping force to each wheel separately thru continuously variable valves. Variable Sport Steering, now standard, is more responsive than ever. M Sport Brakes are also standard fare with four-piston fixed calipers up front and single-piston floating calipers at the rear. Of course, familiar safety functions like dynamic stability control, traction control and ABS brakes are standard as well.
The latest 3 Series is slightly longer, wider, and taller than its predecessor, by 2.9-, 0.6-, and 0.5-inches, respectively, and a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase, but BMW promises the overall athletic character of the sedan is not affected. It’s only been improved. Full-LED headlights are standard and Adaptive LED headlights with BMW Laserlight are optional.
The interior, as we previously noted, is a nice improvement, featuring a completely redesigned instrument cluster and control display. The latest version of iDrive is standard. Official pricing has yet to be revealed for the 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive, but sales are set to get underway next summer.