By on March 26, 2020

2019 BMW M340i front quarter

2020 BMW M340i

3.0-liter turbocharged inline six (382 hp @ 5800 rpm, 369 lb/ft. @ 1800 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive

22 city / 30 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

27.1 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $54,995 US

As Tested: $67,070 US

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States.

Do you consider yourself a responsible, wholesome driver? Are you a driver who maintains control in all driving situations? Or are you tempted to leave each stoplight in a snarl of revs and a haze of vaporized Michelin?

At the moment, BMW does not offer its flagship sports sedan, the M3. We are left with this, the 2020 BMW M340i. While the M3 – when it comes – will likely offer a batshit crazy amount of horsepower, I’m reminded when I drive this sensibly-powered M340i of Lord Acton’s chestnut: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I’d like to think that I’m a decent, incorruptible fellow, thus 382 horsepower is enough for me. It’s probably enough for you, too.

2019 BMW M340i profile

Say, what’s the pachyderm doing in here? The astute will note that, no, a manual transmission is not available on any current BMW 3 Series, including this otherwise-sporty M340i. It’s certainly missed. That said, I don’t hate the ZF eight-speed backing up the twin-turbo inline six here. It’s always in the right gear, shifting with the appropriate force and speed for the situation. I’d be happier with a manual, but since just this side of nobody buys cars with three pedals these days (scientific data pending) I’ll learn to manage. This BMW does a traditional automatic right.

2019 BMW M340i rear quarter

Of course, this G20-generation M340i is big, at least compared to the traditional ideals of 3 Seriesness – the E30 and E36. At a bit over 3,500 pounds curb weight, this compact sedan carries nearly nine hundred pounds more than the E30 M3, and around three hundred more than the E36 generation. It’s actually very close in exterior dimensions to the E34-chassis M5, with overall lengths right around 185 inches.

[Get new and used BMW 3-Series pricing here!]

This is no longer a small car.

2019 BMW M340i front

The styling hides the size well, however. The ever-growing dual kidney schnoz, while stretching wider and wider through the years, has mercifully resisted the drooping flared nostril look we keep seeing on the company’s larger SUVs and in spy photos. The grille, front fascia, and hood are a bit too adorned with gashes and creases for my tastes – the look is a bit busy. Get past the face, and the rest of the car looks much more reserved.

These 19-inch alloys, in a medium gray that should color-match brake dust, nicely fill out the wheel wells. And I’m truly besotted with this Portimao Blue Metallic paint (it is absolutely worth the $550 upcharge), though if you want anything beyond white paint you have to pay extra.

The interior, for the most part, works quite well. A few of the materials – including the door panels and dashboard top – feel rather cheap for a car that starts well over $50k, though the optional ($1,450) leather seating looks and feels marvelous. The feel of the door ahead of the shifter that covers a pair of cupholders and the cellphone charger is a bit chintzy, as well. If you’re anything like me, however, you’ll never close that cubbyhole unless you’re taking photos to sell the car or, perhaps, write a review about the car. The seats fit me nicely, with plenty of bolstering for spirited driving and enough comfort for a long day of windshield time.

The rear seat was similarly comfortable for the kids – at well over six feet, I wouldn’t want to spend all day behind myself, but my rear seat testers are five-seven and five-four (for now) and I had no complaints about their knees in my back.

2019 BMW M340i interior

This may not be the case with shoppers looking at a $349/month lease special on a four-cylinder 3 Series, but once someone steps up to something with an M badge buyers are generally looking for something that brings a smile to the face when driving. Here, the M340i does not disappoint. Steering, while not quite as communicative as in the “old days” of E36 and E46 chassis, is certainly improved over the outgoing F80 generation.

2019 BMW M340i front seat

The ride quality is remarkable, though, with incredible body control and noise damping over rough tarmac. The ride is firm, like a sports sedan should be, but surprisingly compliant.  That’s if you choose the “comfort” mode on the center console for the ($700) adaptive suspension. Switching it up to Sport or Sport+ firms up the shocks, tightens the steering, and enhances the responsiveness of both the engine and transmission. It’s still not boy-racer unpleasant even in Sport+, but neither would you confuse it for a limousine ride.

2019 BMW M340i rear seat

The three hundred eighty-two horses shoving at the backside with a muted snarl will also remind you that you are indeed in a genuine sports sedan.

My only real gripe with the M340i is the price – really, the price one must pay to get all of the options that really should be included with the base price. Beyond paying extra for any color beyond Alpine White, BMW really seems to nickel-and-hundred-dollar-bill the shopper. Perusing the build-and-price tool at bmwusa.com, beyond the base price of $54k I’d likely add the $700 driving assistance package (lane departure warning, blind spot detection, frontal/pedestrian collision warning, park distance control), the $1,500 cooling and high-performance tire package, and the $700 adaptive M suspension. This gets me the minimum viable sports sedan at $56,900 delivered – a serious pile of cash.

Or I could wait for the M3.

I dunno. While what is likely to be something approaching 500 horsepower and (crosses fingers) a real manual transmission would be so incredibly fun, this 2020 BMW M340i is more than adequate for 99 percent of real-world drivers. That 382 hp is merely adequate says something about how spoiled modern drivers are. This is plenty for me, and is probably plenty of M for you, as well.

2019 BMW M340i logo badge

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

41 Comments on “2020 BMW M340i Review: All The M You Need...”


  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Yeah, this seems about right. The 2 is there for the “BMW hasn’t built a real BMW since the E30” crowd and the M3 will be there for the “MOAR POWER, BUT I AM TOO SOPHISTICATED FOR A HELLCAT” crowd.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    You hit the nail on the head. These things cost too much when new (for my taste) and they don’t lease well, if you want anything other than the lightly-optioned lease special (I am not paying $800/mo to rent a car for three years, only to then be responsible for mileage overage and disposition fees).

    I prefer to buy them at 3-5 years old.

    On Monday, I bought a 2016 535i xDrive M Sport from the local Bimmer dealership. I like it quite a bit, and it’s in warranty for quite a while…which is good, because I noticed one of the soft-close door does not work properly. It’s equipped with all of my must-haves, which were the M Sport Package, the Multi-Contour Seats, and the Driver Assistance Package.

    Still, this new 3 Series is really rather good. It’s a step, or two, or three, back in the right direction, and you can tell they tried. It also has enough space for most people, and doesn’t feel nearly as compact as earlier 3 Series models.

    Also, minor quibble: the F80 is the outgoing/old M3 Sedan. The F30 denotes the old 3 Series Sedan. Don’t ask me why BMW has started giving the M variants separate chassis codes.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Congratulations on your purchase, Kyree. That exact ride would be mine right now, but my spouse is not really ok with the five series as not youthful enough. I think it has also something to do with the social class is projects. So while I’m driving my dream BMW right now, if something happened to it, I’d likely end up in a 335i xDrive or 340i xdrive, right in that year range.

      I hope you got something fun like a blue or sparkling silver with oyster or brown leather. No matter… they look sharp.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Tanzanite Blue II with the cognac interior is an absolutely beautiful combo (albeit with a $1,995 upcharge on the paint). The Portimao blue at $550 is a relative bargain, but I prefer the deeper blue of the Tanzanite.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Good point, Kyree. There are low mileage used M340s in the low $50s that are starting to show up online.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      You’re a pretty forgiving guy, Kyree. After your X5 experience, I have no idea how you could have darkened the doors of another bmw dealer.

      That auto cinching soft close door should already alert you to the reality of BMW reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      Nice buy Kyree. I park next to a 535 with sport package. A handsome car.I’m a huge fan of CPO German cars. All the enjoyment. I think a car tells its owner what life will be like out of warrant within a few years of ownership. For now , you’re well covered. In 2021 or 22 or so, you’ll know if the enjoyment of driving is worth the risk outside of factory warranty coverage.
      Also, I feel like the indy German shops are more trustworthy/competent than the USDM indy shops I’ve dealt with.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’ve always disliked the recent German push downmarket. I don’t think luxury cars should be stickering for similar money as the mainstream brands. But for more money we should be getting more. $1500 for options that are standard on some $20k cars? Give me a break.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Thats the BMW, Porsche, and MB modus operandi. We have basic cars now with luxury features included – and the Germans still push these same features as part of a $2000 upgrade package to an already price inflated car.

      I love the M series, especially in 340 guise – but I would never, ever pay $67k to own one. Heck, brand new 2019 Corvettes can still be found with a manual transmission for around $50k. Never mind the fun factor of a Mustang GT convertible for 3/5 the price – and also equipped with a manual. This M340i would make a nice lease queen though, for the person that needs to have the M series ownership notched on his garage door.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      What I find to be inexcusable is charging European import money for a car built in Mexico – looking at you, Mercedes and Audi.

      We know they built factories there to save money. Pass the savings on to the consumer.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        The xDrive models all come from Germany, the rear wheel models come from Mexico.

        There’s no savings – they manufacturers have to do this in order to maintain decent margins.

  • avatar

    I recently watched a youtube comparo of the M340 v the c43 v the s4. The biggest complaint the reviewers had was that the c43 and the s4 were sufficently different from the downmarket siblings, but that the 340 wasn’t enough over the identically sport packaged 330i….

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Meh. This thing is so fast that I wouldn’t be able to use much of the power in normal driving, but the slower version has an ugly four-cylinder sound.

    For me, the peak of 3-Series desirability is either the E46 330i ZHP or the E90 335is. Nothing since has been as interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      And I think that was one of the key things that the reviewers argued, in favor of the 330 over the M340: for most people, it’s just overkill.

      But, it’s fun overkill, with a great engine note to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Having owned an overkill car (G8 GXP), I sold it because in around-town Seattle driving it was more frustrating than fun. It was impossible to let the LS3 sing and not be endangering the public or committing a felony.

        It used to be that you could get a great-sounding 3-Series with an appropriate amount of power. Now the one that actually makes sense sounds flatulent. Even by four-cylinder standards BMW’s 2.0Ts sound ugly.

        I’d much rather have a Model 3 than a 330i.

        • 0 avatar
          Nedmundo

          My business partner and I recently tested a few cars for her, including the 330i xDrive and Model 3. Both of us preferred the Model 3. It was simply more fun to drive, and not just because of the massive torque; it has more steering feel than most cars today, which means vastly more than the uncomfortably numb 330i. I’m astounded that BMW hasn’t addressed the more glaring flaw in the F30 generation.

          So I’d also rather have a Model 3, provided I could make the range work.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          And this is why I daily a Fiesta ST. I feel like Michael Schumacher driving to work. Even still, I’ve only ever gotten to 9/10ths on a track but 4-5 10ths is still fun.

          Even still, sometimes I wish I’d have gotten an Ecoboost 1.0 one and dropped the ST suspension under it and wouldn’t bind a Fit Sport manual with the Factory Performance Pack if it wasn’t more expensive than my ST.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Pretty sure that BMW product planners are obsessed with trying to capture Fiesta intenders.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            They Aren’t @tool, of course not. Point was I was there, cash in hand to buy a manual 3 last time and they weren’t interested in finding me one. I drove the M3 which I also could afford and it was magnificent, but no fun to drive at normal speeds. On a track it would bury me, but 99 percent of my driving isn’t on a track.

            There was a time when up and down the range BMW built solid driver focused cars. A basic E30 was still a fun car to drive, if slow. That really isn’t the case anymore. I have money to buy literally any freaking car they had on the lot that day, and I purchased a freaking 16,000 dollar Ford because it was more fun to drive. The author is right…to get a BMW that is fun to drive you have to spend 50-60k at a minimum. Gone are the days when a base 3 was rewarding.

            But yeah, I agree, they arent after me as a buyer…I had money in hand…they’d rather lease base 3 series cars. By the way, I do own a BMW as well, though it is actually a good one.

    • 0 avatar

      This…I had an e46 with the M Sport package, manual. The ZHP came out two months after I’d placed my order.

      The secret sauce of german cars, distilled. Power was adequate, shame they didn’t put in the S54 engine in the sedan.

      The M3 e90 with the 8 was wonderful too.

      Drove an F30 with sport package, and the four. What happened ?

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I’ve got a lot of seat time in the M340. It is outstanding, and tons of fun for all but the hardcore “M” enthusiast. If you’re into 0-60 times, there are a number of posts recording 3.9-4.1 second runs. That’s current gen M3 territory.

    I’ve seen that comparison review of the M340/C43/S4 and I disagree with their assessment that the M340 is *NOT* different enough from the base model. In terms of the competition, the C43 is too brittle of a ride, the S4 is too sterile and anodyne. The M340 really is the goldilocks of this group.

    In terms of pricing: yeah, it’s not inexpensive, but a comparable spec’d S4 or C43 are in similar price territory. The fact that all paint colors except for white incur an upcharge is infuriating. Plan on an MSRP of between $61-$64 if you’re including things like all-wheel-drive, a paint color other than white, full leather, adaptive suspension, etc. Yeah, it’s a lot, but expect true sales prices of between $54-$57. Leases are generally in the low $600s.

    If it seems like I’m smitten, it’s because I am. It’s a darn fine automobile.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    How many rolls of TP does the trunk hold? That’s gonna make-or-break the car for me.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Even if mildly equipped, this is still a 60k car with a big depreciation hit. Yeah I know most will lease but it’s an expensive lease for what you’re getting. The democratization of big power started several years ago – lots of big hp cars are available used.

    I’m sure this drives great, but the 3 has gone from being a great driving but pricey car to a great driving but unaffordable car very quickly. The downmarket versions of the 3 have a wheezy 4 banger that doesn’t sound like a pricey car. I guess those are just for badge shoppers.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I don’t consider a car that costs 67,000 to be “responsible” transportation at all. And also it’s way too large.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I liked the F80 M3 but it was fun but too much everything- ride was too harsh, too loud, too showy. This would be perfect (and for the price it should be), but I wouldn’t buy an automatic.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Certainly no one will buy a manual if one isn’t offered. And of course, we can’t have the lovely new 3-series wagon in the US either.

    Guess I will just keep saving the $60K and keep my ’11 328! 6spd/rwd wagon, much as I would really like to do Euro Delivery again.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    People have only been complaining about the 3 series being to expensive for, like, 30 years.

  • avatar

    Why not just buy proper sports car and avoid trouble of owning German sedan? Just asking.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    I drove it, the engine and AT is great but wheelbase is very long.
    I would wait for new Lexus IS with BMW engine.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I don’t understand BMW’s naming scheme. No, this isn’t a “get rid of the alphanumeric jibberish” post, but a question about M340i versus M3. Clearly the M3 is a more high zoot vehicle, based on context clues, but are the M cars with more numbers akin to the N-Line from Hyundai where they get some of the goodies, but not necessarily all of the sizzle. I’ve not reached the point in my life where I could seriously consider the Germans, but I’m curious.

    Also, 200hp is more than fine for me. Even the additional 182 on offer here would be lost entirely on me.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I test drove the prior gen, a low mileage ’16 F30 (328xi) a month ago or so, contemplating the replacement of my wife’s Camry. HOnestly, aside from a pretty slick looking interior (saddle leather, walnut trim), it was closer to the Camry than not. Dead steering. Nothing remotely remarkable about how it drove. 4cyl engine gets up and scoots once everything has reacted, but is wholly unsatisfying. My old B5 A4 was vastly more direct and mechanically satisfying to drive. It’s simply a function of old vs new cars. I test drove a stick shift Mazda3 and felt the same way, although it was better than the automatic Bimmer at least.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Makes my $46k purchase of a new ‘19 C7 7M seem downright reasonable! I’m going to tell the wife so I can get out of the doghouse! :)

  • avatar
    hans007

    I’ve had one of these for about 3 weeks now.

    Granted I haven’t been able to drive it as much as I would like given I live in los angeles, and coronavirus lock down.

    Dealers if you take advantage of bmw loyalty etc and every incentive you can get 18-19% off.

    Compared to my previous audis and bmws this is a great driving car. When i was younger a roomate had an E34 and I do agree it is starting to get a bit large. Still though, its just about the right size and power. I feel like it would be difficult to really use another 90-100hp that the M3 will have, and this car won’t have that terrible new grill design.

    Love the car, and got it under $50k pre tax even with bmw individual paint. $50k…. these days isn’t really THAT expensive for a new premium brand car, I bought mine and its only a little bit more than my last car cost

  • avatar
    vehicleimageediting

    Wow nice BMW car,I like it,Thanks for sharing your photography!!!
    https://bestphotoediting.com/car-photo-editing/

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • PrincipalDan: As GM raced toward bankruptcy and the death of Pontiac shortly thereafter, dealers were being extorted...
  • Sobro: By the looks of it not a single part has been salvaged. From “Wide Track” to “Maybe...
  • Gardiner Westbound: Making a bad situation worse, the dealer affixed a badge visible from outer space.
  • Lie2me: Remember the TV show “Jacka$$”? Teddy, it wasn’t meant to be a blueprint for living :(
  • Lie2me: “You can’t make this stuff up.” Why not? You do

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber