Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

BMW reveals 369bhp M340i xDrive ahead of LA debut

BMW reveals 369bhp M340i xDrive ahead of LA debut

BMW will launch its most potent 3 Series model this side of an M3 yet when the new M340i xDrive arrives next year. And even though is not the full-blown M3, the M prefix has made it the most powerful 3 Series in the current lineup.

Paired exclusively to an eight-speed automatic, that engine will rocket the M340i to 100 km/h from zero in just 4.4 seconds, when paired with xDrive all-wheel-drive. BMW wants to reclaim its crown as the purveyor of the ultimate driving machine, and the M340i is a key part of its offensive. After unveiling the 330i at the Paris Motor Show, BMW will debut the more powerful M340i in Los Angeles later this month.

Torque distribution between the front and rear axles is fully variable, but the system does have a rearward bias which is particularly prominent when the driver has selected either the Sport or Sport+ driver experience control mode.

The BMW M340i xDrive Sedan comes as standard with the 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission of the latest generation, which is characterised, amongst other things, by an optimised hydraulic control system and exceptionally high shifting dynamics. A rear-wheel-drive vehicle is also available.

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As for the Audi S4, it is perhaps the most visually subdued auto here, even though it also has a beefier front spoiler, larger wheels and quad exhausts. It's 10mm lower than a regular new 3-Series, the suspension components have been lightened, the track width has been subtly widened, and there are optional adaptive M dampers and a standard electric diff.

Combining an extremely sporty set-up - headlined by short pedal travel and a distinct pressure point - the M Sport brake system, which also comes as standard, provides effective stopping power. Standard 18-inch M light alloy wheels are wrapped in 225/45R18 tires in the front; and 255/40R18 in the back. 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.

The M340i's model-specific design features include the kidney grille's mesh design (I see teeth linking the mesh), the rear spoiler in body colour and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipe trim.

Although as yet unconfirmed, we can expect the M340i to be followed by a Touring version and also an M440i for the two-door line-up.

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