BMW showed off the new, seventh-generation 3-Series for the first time last month, and now the automaker has revealed the sporty version. No, it's not the M3, but it's close. Say hello to the 2020 M340i.
Yes, the 3-Series now gets a baby M variant just like the 2-, 5- and 7-Series, as well as the X3 and new Z4. With a 3.0-liter straight-six, the M340i is aimed right at cars like the Mercedes-AMG C43 and Audi S4, both of which are powered by 3.0-liter turbo V6s. The M340i's powerplant is basically the same single-turbo six that found a home in the previous-gen 340i, but tuned for more power and torque, with 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of on tap. Those figures put the M340i just a bit behind the 385-hp AMG C43, though ahead of the 354-hp S4.
Like the C43 and S4, the M340i offers all-wheel drive, but unlike the other two Germans, the BMW's AWD is optional. No matter how many wheels are driven, the only transmission available is an eight-speed automatic. Acceleration figures for the rear-wheel drive version haven't been released yet, but BMW says the M340i with xDrive will hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Top speed for both variants is 155 mph.
The M340i will come standard with M Sport brakes, with 13.7-inch rotors clamped down by four-piston calipers up front, and 13.6-inch rotors and single-piston calipers in back. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential is also standard, as is variable-ratio steering. The standard suspension setup uses a new type of damper with additional hydraulic elements that come into play on large suspension movements—our colleagues at Car and Driver explain the new system in —while adaptive dampers are optional.
While the lighter, rear-drive M340i seems more our style, the all-wheel drive version sounds interesting, too. It gets a system with a fully variable front-to-rear torque split, with increasing amounts of rearward bias in Sport and Sport+ driving modes.
The M340i of course benefits from all the improvements BMW has made for the seventh-generation 3-Series. The company touts a stiffer, lighter body shell, and a new interior featuring BMW's newest iDrive system.
BMW says the M340i will reach dealers in July 2019, and pricing will be announced at a later date.