It offers drivers a somewhat sporty driving experience and it’s not sore on the eyes either! The latest Generation 3 Series recently went through a slight refresh. This refresh not only included a few styling improvements but a badge change for the 335i, now known as the 340i. I spent some time with this upper echelon 3 Series to see what it’s all about.
The model I tested was fitted with the M-Sport package, which includes a sportier set of front and rear bumpers, large sporty rims and a number of M badges. The improved 3 Series features a new set of headlights with a more aggressive angel-eye design. It also features more elegantly designed rear taillights, which feature an interesting ribbon-like design, more prominent at night. At the lower end of the rear bumper one can’t help but notice the dual chrome tailpipes on either end.
The interior of the 340i is just like every other 3 Series, except that because this particular one was fitted with the M-Sport kit it featured a sportier steering wheel, the same found in the new M3. The overall design of the interior is one of simplicity. It looks good and the materials used are, naturally, that of quality. The car that I tested had just about every option that is available on it. The reason for this is because it gives me a chance to tell you which of them I would choose, for example, the 340i is a serious drivers car - I’ll get to that soon – and as a drivers car it is always ideal to sit low down. This can become an issue when trying to navigate the drive-thru at McDonalds. Thankfully the car was fitted with the 360 degree camera system. This helped me to navigate the drive-thru so as to not damage the rims. It also helps avoid bumping the car if your garage is slightly crowded.
So the 340i looks like every other 3 Series on the outside with only the duel tailpipes and slightly larger brake disks and callipers eluding to its performance nature. It’s only once you start it up that you realise this is no 320i, oh no, push the Start button and it pops into life with a subtle yet noticeable note. You see, under the hood lies a 3.0-litre straight six TwinPower Turbo engine, the same one that was found in the 335i, except this time it makes more power, 240kW and 450Nm to be exact, sending all of it to the rear wheels. Add to the mix an 8-speed automatic gearbox with lightning quick changes and what you have is an M3 without the steroids.
In fact, the 340i will easily keep the pervious E92 M3 in its rear view mirror all the way down the main straight at Red Star Raceway, and that car has a V8 under the hood. Put the two on the line and engage the Launch Control and it’s a similar story, the 340i hits the red line at 7000rpm before grabbing another gear. Dynamically the 340i is impressive, it handles like a finely tuned BMW should.
I love a car with a hidden personality, they interest me, much like people with a ‘naughty’ side. From Monday to Friday they present themselves in a professional manner, they are polite, well dressed and classy. However, come Saturday night and the party animal comes out, before you know it they dancing on the table with a karaoke mic in their hands. That’s the 340i, it’s a car that you can take to the office during the week without anyone batting an eyelid, come the weekend and it will set your pants on fire around a racetrack.