BMW M340i And M340i xDrive Detailed Ahead Of L.A. Debut

First BMW 8 Series Convertible Leaves Dingolfing 5 830x553

It's the new M340i, and it's the most powerful non-M 3 Series that BMW has ever made.

That's more power than the E46 M3, and a slightly quicker acceleration figure than the E90 M3.

The kidney grille and headlamps (LEDs standard) are larger, but overall the shape is definitely 3-Series. BMW's engineers have asked more of the TwinScroll turbocharging system and upped its fuel injection pressure to 350 bar. The twin-scroll turbos are tuned along with steel exhaust manifold. Also there's something called "variable sport steering", said to provide better feedback. Hmm.

With the release of the new seventh-generation 3 Series, performance enthusiasts the world over have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new M3.

Ahead of its debut at LA later this month, European press releases make no mention of the RWD version that's to be offered in the USA - a fact which might potentially displease the manufacturer's hardcore fan base on this side of the Atlantic - but BMW will be well aware that both significant rivals, the Audi S4 and Mercedes-AMG C43, use AWD as a distinguishing feature of their top-tier trim levels.

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Another big factor in the 0-62mph being so brisk is the xDrive all-wheel drive system, which - along with a limited-slip differential on the rear axle - is fitted as standard.

That all-wheel-drive traction, with a helping hand from Launch Control, help the M340i sprint off the line nearly as quickly as the previous M3, it's 4.4 second claimed 0-100km/h time being just 0.1s adrift.

The power plant developed for the BMW M340i xDrive Sedan raises the vehicle's characteristics in areas of performance, response, revving power, running smoothness and efficiency, so typical of BMW straight six-cylinder engines, to a new level. It's 10mm lower than a regular new 3 Series, the suspension components have been lightened, the track width has been subtly widened, there are optional adaptive M dampers, and a standard electric diff. There's also a variable steering option, but experience suggests this one might be less desirable. The calipers, four-piston fixed at the front and single-piston floating at the rear, are painted blue and display the M logo.

The new BMW M340i xDrive Sedan's superior performance characteristics are reflected in model-specific design and equipment features. Instead, it signals its ranking with some extra aerodynamic features on the front bumper, a few M badges and some grey metallic trim outside. The list of standard features also includes leather-upholstered sport seats and a glass roof. Other than that, it's regular 3 Series.

The M340i also looks the part with its cosmetic updates. The M340i's 3.0-liter twin-scroll straight-six is new, and the auto, codenamed G20, rides on BMW's Cluster Architecture, aka CLAR. But don't let that put you off.

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