By Khulekani Dumisa
Nearly all of us love the ultimate version of any car that we aspire to drive. Be it a C63, RS4 or even an M3/M4. In most cases, the finances may not agree with us or running these cars may just be too cumbersome. This may not be only linked to their thirsty nature but simply that their sporty credentials come at the cost of comfort. Manufactures have picked on this and have sought to produce models that have impressive performance models but sit just below the halo models. The M340i xDrive is such great example of this trend although two generations ago, it may as well have been the halo model. We spent time with it recently and it left us thoroughly impressed.
The unique design features of the M340i also make a case for it. These include BMW kidney grille with a mesh design, adaptive LED headlights, exterior mirror caps, air intake struts, rear spoiler in body colour and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipe trims, just to name a few. The standard specification list is also generous although options can make things quite expensive with our test unit approaching almost R1,2million. Standard features include leather seats, M leather steering wheel, BMW ConnectedDrive (with connected navigation) and Live Cockpit Plus (with its 8.8-inch central instrument cluster).
As you would have guessed, the quality of the interior is impressive. Not only that, the car is practical, and offers the same interior space (which is increased from the previous model) and boot as any other 3 Series model. It is good enough to take a family of five along with their luggage of a couple of suitcases on a weeklong trip to the coast.
Engine and drive
The BMW M340i is powered by a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbo engine that produces 285kW and 500Nm of torque. Paired with an 8-speed sports transmission and benefiting from BMW’s xDrive, the super sedan can do the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.4 seconds. In addition, an M Sport suspension, differential, and brake system, variable sports steering, and 18-inch M light alloy wheels are all standard equipment for the BMW M340i xDrive Sedan.
The car is absolutely exciting as it blends performance and practicality very, very well. The power delivery is nearly instantaneous and you do not have to do much to get the power out of the car. This happens in almost all the driving modes. Although a four wheel drive, the car offers a lot of entertainment in twisty roads with challenging corners. The wizardry by the M-Division engineers may trick you into believing that you aren’t piloting an all-wheel drive car. The beauty is that your family will not resent you for opting to go for the M340i. They will actually enjoy the decent levels of comfort on offer, something incredible considering the sporty credentials of the car.
Fired by a powerful 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbo engine, you’d think the car might bite too much at the pumps, but it does not. Our average consumption didn’t even get to 11L/100km (and that was with some spirited driving). Beware of the extras though, they may make things get quite expensive. Honestly, since not all of us will want or afford a full M, RS or AMG, this is worth aspiring to and getting!
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