By Malusi Msomi
The BMW 3 Series is one car that’s quite hard to fault. Unlike its higher-tier sibling – the M3 – the BMW 3 Series seems to have no issues pleasing its owners and fans in the looks department. Recently updated, BMW has enhanced its already good looks, sharpened the design, and improved the interior.
The BMW M340i sets itself apart from the rest of the 3 Series range with its unique front grille and rear bumper, which house a set of trapezoid-style exhaust tips. If you opt for removing the model designation, it would be a true sleeper with only a few recognizing that this is a performance orientated 3 series. Fitted to our tester is the R15,000 M Sport package Pro which includes: BMW Individual Lights Shadow Line, BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line with extended contents, red and M Sport brakes. Overall, it’s good looking and what the people in ekasi would call ‘A Sexy Beemer.’
Stepping inside, the M340i showcases premium materials and boasts BMW’s latest technology in the form of a curved display with new graphics for both the infotainment and digital instrument cluster, and a new shift-by-wire gearbox selector. Additionally, the M340i comes standard with a sunroof and a Harmon Kardon sound system. The infotainment system is BMW’s new iDrive 8 which supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The curved design is great, but BMW having moved the climate control onto the screen is a bad move in our opinion. We still think physical buttons are way more practical. When it comes to the interior, it’s quite hard to fault the 3 series in general. On the practicality side, there is ample room for five occupants and their luggage.
Powering this beauty is the magnificent B58, which a single-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that produces 285 kW and 500 Nm of torque. The M340i sends power to its xDrive all-wheel drive system via a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic. Now, let’s talk about what really steals the show: that B58 engine. It’s not just about power; it’s about how it feels on the road. Whether you’re cruising along or letting loose with some spirited driving, this engine is a delight. The M340i sounds quite good too and we actually think it sounds better than its more powerful sibling, the large front grilled M3. During our test, we drove it down to Durban, the M340i surprised us with its frugality. It sipped fuel at just 6.3 L/100 km on the open road, comfortably beating BMW’s claimed 8.0 L/100 km. Only a daily commute with mixed driving, realistically you’re looking at around 10 L/100 km.
If we’re speaking the truth, The BMW M340i is essentially a baby M3. It’s more for the person who will mostly likely loves driving and will want to drive it every day. If you’re not looking for something that looks too out there, quick and comfortable, the BMW M340i might be the one for you. Pricing for the M340i starts from R1,363,207.
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