The 3 Series is BMW’s most successful model line with more than 14 million sales globally, and now it has a new, top-of-the-line leader.
The BMW 340i sedan is new for 2016 and comes with a new engine: an inline twin-turbo six cylinder that produces 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. A benchmark 3-series luxury car with every bell and whistle and a new silky-smooth-yet-powerful engine is an unbeatable combination.
In fact, I’m unsure which came first: a great car in need of a equally outstanding engine, or this fantastic new engine in need of a worthy car around it. No matter, this combo makes for a great driving car in any situation: in town, on long open highways or on twisty side roads.
The new modular BMW Efficient Dynamics inline six-cylinder engine in the 340i combines high performance with surprising fuel efficiency. Peak torque of 330 pound-feet is available from a low 1,380 rpm. Equipped with an updated eight-speed Steptronic transmission, the 340i accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155 mph (130 mph if equipped with all-season tires).
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Acceleration is both quick and forceful, and it’s accompanied by a wonderful exhaust note. At the same time, the 340i handles this leap forward in stride, never giving you the impression that it’s unbridled.
To shift the transmission manually, there are two paddles on the steering wheel, as well as a console-mounted manual option that you pull back to upshift and push forward to downshift.
The suspension is firm and allows for precise steering and handling. The ride is quiet except on rough roads, and there is no wind noise. This car doesn’t travel across roads as much as it seems to glide.
It’s rated at 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 33 on the highway, but if that isn’t good enough, it also has start/stop technology (which I found to be intrusive) and an ECO PRO setting. With that enabled, the car will coast in certain situations and the climate control is set to be more fuel-efficient. The car will keep track of your driving style, will display how you are doing in terms of a “bonus range” and will even give you tips. I doubt if this function will get much use in our time of $1.75 gasoline, but maybe it would if — or when — gas returns to the $2-$3 level.
In addition to the ECO setting, the 340i’s Driving Dynamics Control can be set to Sport, Sport+ or Comfort, which alters settings on suspension, steering and engine control.
In addition to the new powerplant, the 340i sedan adds 18-inch alloy wheels (my 340i had the optional 19-inch Sport Performance alloy wheels), LED headlights, matte chrome exterior trim, keyless ignition and entry (including a power trunk lid with a foot sensor), a sunroof and a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system.
The seriously loaded 340i I had last week came in Mediterranean Blue metallic with an Oyster Dakota leather interior, both options.
A cold weather package added a heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats.
The driver assistance package added a rear view camera and Park Distance Control, which uses ultrasound sensors in the bumpers to measure the distance to an object.
The driver assistance plus package included active blind spot detection, active driving assistant (front-end collision warning and pedestrian warning), and side- and top-view cameras (used in a 360-degree display around the car when parking or backing up).
A lighting package includes automatic high beams, which are controlled by a camera on the rearview mirror.
The technology package includes a navigation system, a head-up display, advanced real-time traffic information and remote services. The head-up display had speed limit detection, which uses a camera to find and display the current speed limit, and it can display speed, navigation, check Control messages and other driver assistance systems.
Four years or 50,000-miles, with a four-year unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.
The MSRP of the 2016 BMW 340i sedan was $45,800. Options included the Mediterranean Blue metallic paint and the Oyster Dakota leather interior, the cold weather package, the driver assistance and assistance plus packages, the lighting package and the technology package, the 19-inch Sport Performance alloy wheels, rear manual side window shades, active cruise control and enhanced Bluetooth and smartphone integration. The sticker price, including destination, was $58,820.
Mike Fitzgerald’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
2016 BMW 340i SEDAN
ENGINE: 3.0-liter, 320-horsepower twin turbo inline six-cylinder with 330 pound-feet of torque
TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed automatic transmission with Automatic, Sport and Manual shift modes and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters; rear-wheel drive.
WHEELBASE/LENGTH: 110.6/182.8 inches
CURB WEIGHT: 3,695 pounds
BASE PRICE: $45,800
AS DRIVEN: $58,820, including options and destination
MPG RATING: 22 miles per gallon in city driving, 33 on the highway