More than an M3 Lite: BMW reveals beefy M340i xDrive

Judy Cobb
November 14, 2018

And even though is not the full-blown M3, the M prefix has made it the most powerful 3 Series in the current lineup. These cars also have a dual-pipe exhaust system with a valve inside that in Sport or Sport+ modes generates a more distinctive sound.

Once it launches, this new M340i xDrive will thus assume the role of the most powerful model in the seventh-generation range ... until the arrival of the new full-fat M3, that is.

The M340i is powered by a revised version of BMW's 3-litre straight-six turbopetrol, producing 275kW and 500Nm, and feeding all wheels through an eight speed automatic gearbox and xDrive system.

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But it has to look and sound the part too, doesn't it? The Los Angeles Auto Show (30 November - 9 December 2018) will serve as the setting for the world premiere of the BMW M340i xDrive Sedan. The suspension geometry differs from other cars in the range, and if you want to improve the handling further, there's the option of fancy adaptive dampers. BMW uses an 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission with new control systems and shorter gearing for response and acceleration. CLAR is created to accommodate a longitudinally mounted motor and either rear- or all-wheel drive. The electronically controlled, fully variable rear-wheel locking function noticeably contributes not only towards an increase in traction, but also enhances stability and agility of the vehicle. It incorporates a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-arm rear axle, and sits 10mm closer to the ground on M Sport suspension and bespoke damper settings. Also there's something called "variable sport steering", said to provide better feedback. Hmm.

The brakes have been beefed up-bigger discs (348mm/345mm front and rear) hide behind 18-inch wheels, though you can option 19-inchers. The M sport brakes achieve this with a more direct ratio as well as a different hydraulic configuration including four-piston, fixed calliper brakes and 348 millimetres discs at the front and single-piston, floating calliper brakes with 345 millimetres discs at the rear. This includes the new iteration of BMW's kidney grille which features mesh design instead of the characteristic vertical louvres.

Inside, the sporty 3 comes with sports seats with M-specific upholstery in Sensatec/Alcantara, black roof lining, M leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles, and cabin trim strips in Aluminium Tetragon.

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