Cars/ First-drive/ BMW M340i LCI | The Everyday M3 | First Drive Review

BMW M340i LCI | The Everyday M3 | First Drive Review

Enthusiasts have long awaited this day when a big engine performance bargain would grace the Indian automotive scene, and now it’s back with a bang.

For

Sharp looks, ballistic acceleration

Against

Artificial eargasms and steering feel

Driving

The Engine, Performance & Handling

Armed with the same inline six but this time with a 48V mild hybrid system to aid overall performance. Ironically power is now down by 13 bhp compared to the previous iteration, while torque remains the same. Power goes to all four wheels, but mainly is rear-wheel drive biased to maintain the dynamics of this vehicle. Unfortunately, we don’t get the X-drive Plus version here, so you cannot switch it up to being just rear-wheel drive, meaning getting the tail out will be a much more challenging affair than the regular 3 Series. On the flip side, the X-drive system maximizes grip and never breaks traction, even when you floor it in the wet.

Dynamically this is still the benchmark for what you can get south of 1 Crore, and since the Mercedes-Benz C43 has left its post, the M340i has no real competition. I wish BMW could have added the adaptive dampers, which would have done a great job and brought the balance the M340i aims for between comfort and performance. The M340i is stiffer and less plush than the regular 3 Series. You can still drive the M340i daily, but you’d have to be extra careful because it’s ground clearance.

With the little coasting feature that allows you to save fuel, efficiency figures aren’t exactly out of the world. I’m surprised there is no cylinder deactivation technology to aid the fuel efficiency figures better. The gearbox is quick and is always one step ahead of you. Shifts feel intense, and you feel a gentle kickback which makes it fun. Take manual control of the gearbox, and it’s quite a rewarding experience, even with the artificial audio.

Like an episode of Big Boss, the drama is artificial, and the sound is a tad too muted for my taste. Most of the audio, along with pops and bangs, is piped in artificially. It’s amusing to hear the car sound louder with the windows up and quiet with the windows down. Instead of an exhaust button, you get an option on the screen called “iconic sounds” that enables these artificial sounds to flare inside your cabin.

The handling is sharper than a regular 3 Series but not extreme enough for the ride to remain bearable. The steering tends to weigh up, but that feels a tad too artificial and robs you of some feel. This isn’t precisely the sharp handler you’d expect, but there is no doubt about its hunkered-down agility. The acceleration is intense, and the M340i insulates you too well for you to notice how quickly one tends to get to triple-digit speeds with little to no effort. All in all, the M340i is more fun on straight lines than it is around corners, and that, to me, was a bit of a “you win some, you lose some” situation.



TopGear Magazine July 2024