2023 BMW M340i XDrive Review
|Engine:||3.0L I6 Turbo|
|Output:||382 hp, 369 lb-ft|
|US fuel economy (MPG):||23/32/26|
|CAN fuel economy (L/100KM):||10.3/7.4/9.0|
|Starting Price (USD):||$59,395 (inc. dest.)|
|As-Tested Price (USD):||$69,120 (inc. dest.)|
|Starting Price (CAD):||$68,480 (inc. dest.)|
|As-Tested Price (CAD):||$80,825 (inc. dest.)|
I know what the M in M340i stands for, but I propose a new meaning: “measuring stick.”
That’s what the 2023 BMW M340i xDrive is in the compact luxury sedan segment, after all. For decades, the 3 Series has been the car against which all other competitors are judged. Sure, there was a slight wobble with the previous, F30 generation, but this latest G20 was a return to form. And, if anything, the market’s ongoing love affair with the SUV has put the merits of the sport sedan into sharper focus.
For 2023, BMW has treated its vaunted four-door to a round of updates. Do they keep the M340i ahead of the pack? I spent a week with a Skyscraper Grey Metallic model with xDrive to find out.Get a Quote on a New 2023 BMW 3 Series
In the realm of BMW, the 3’s facelift—sorry, Life Cycle Impulse (LCI)—is a fairly subtle one. The front and rear bumpers both get sharper, more angular intakes and design elements. There’s no longer the little notch in the headlights, and they frame reshaped (but not much larger) kidney grilles. New wheel designs round out the changes: this model comes with two-tone, split-five-spoke 19-inch alloys. This particular tester also has the 50 Jahre celebratory BMW badges, which give it an extra bit of visual pizazz.
Inside, BMW’s current curved display arrives in the 3 Series, pairing a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a 14.9-inch infotainment setup under one panel. The whole thing now runs iDrive 8.0, and BMW has reduced physical buttons because of the new system. There’s a redesigned shifter, alongside other minor trim changes.
BMW hasn’t changed much under the hood for the 2023 3 Series lineup, and it didn’t need to. There’s still a 2.0-liter turbo-four under the hood of the 330i, and the 330e plug-in hybrid pairs it with an electric motor and battery pack. The M340i continues to use a turbocharged inline-six, pushing out 382 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque. It now makes use of a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup, which makes for better start-stop operation. All engines hook up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is optional on all three models; in Canada, it’s standard on the 330i and M340i.
Quick and composed
This inline-six will go down in history as one of the greats. Smooth, responsive, and effortlessly powerful, the B58 rockets the 3er down the road regardless of the current gear. Apparently the dash to 60 mph (96 km/h) takes barely over 4 seconds, but in practice it feels even quicker, the eight-speed playing a flawless support role by always finding the right ratio for the job. Torque comes on early and stays at the table until 5,000 rpm. There’s even a sweet, sonorous engine note out of the two exhaust tips—the two actual exhaust tips, not the weird trim pieces cosplaying as them.
The variable-ratio steering has a good weight to it in standard Comfort mode, and it’s quick and accurate. Switching over to the sportier drive modes does add more weight, but it can feel artificially heavy until you’ve wound on more than a quarter-lock in Sport+.
The modern 3 is a big car these days, but the M340i manages to feel compact when pointed down a good road. The brake pedal is firm, and the discs themselves strong and consistent. Body control is excellent, as the 3er stays flat and neutral through tighter curves and sweepers alike. xDrive adds weight, but the rear-biased system only ever sends power up front when it needs to, keeping this sedan feeling agile.
There is a slight comfort trade-off here, as the ride can be somewhat firm even in Comfort mode. It’s hardly deal-breaking, especially given the M340i’s rapid cross-country pace, but it’s noticeable around the broken tarmac that makes up downtown Toronto.
No such tradeoff in terms of fuel economy, however. Despite the M340i’s considerable performance, it averaged 29 mpg (8.1 L/100 km) during the week. That’s better than the 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km) combined official rating.
Red leather is a bold choice, but it works well with the subdued exterior of this grey tester. The M340i’s front seats are well-bolstered for the business of driving, without going to the extreme of the M sport seats in the M3. While the lower cushion looks flat, it’s supportive, making long drives easy. Folks with longer legs will appreciate the extendable thigh support, too. Rear seat space is fine for adults, and the seats are nearly as comfortable as the ones up front.
That big Curved Display dominates the dashboard, but look past it and the rest of the 3 cabin is very traditional BMW. Fit and finish is solid, and the upgraded leather feels great. BMW’s sausage-thick sport steering wheel remains, but it does feel fractionally less girthy than others.
BMW has swapped out the traditional shifter for a little toggle switch of sorts. It’s fine, since it’s easy enough to operate, but it lacks any feel of substance or heft. I just want a little more effort when shifting, BMW. At least one can still pull back once more for manual control, and use the wheel-mounted paddles. They’re not Alfa Romeo good, but they offer an extra level of interactivity.
Good tech, but at the expense of ease
iDrive 8 takes multiple steps forward for BMW’s in-car tech—but not without a few small stumbles.
The good: it’s a responsive and high-definition experience, quickly moving from pretty menu to pretty menu. The app-tile approach to the main menus is an easily familiar one in an age of smartphones, too. I especially enjoy the configurable main menu and instrument panel, the wireless phone mirroring, and the sweet, powerful (upgraded) Harman Kardon sound system. Having Apple Maps integration with the instrument cluster’s navigation is a handy touch, too.
The bad: iDrive 8 still suffers from menu-itis, requiring a lot of pokes and prods to uncover all settings. BMW has also reduced the number of physical buttons, specifically climate and audio controls, forcing either more screen activity or interaction with the (admittedly well-sorted) voice assistant. If Vision Dee is any indication, the decluttering will only ramp up with future models.
At least the M340i’s driving assist suite is uniformly great. The adaptive cruise control smoothly handles stop-and-go highway traffic, adjusting its speed in a way that’s natural. The 360-degree camera is crisp and clear, too.
Dollars and sense
Getting into an M340i in 2023 costs at least $57,395, including destination. That’s for the bog-standard rear-drive model however, it’s $59,395 ($68,480 CAD) for the xDrive. From there, our Canadian-spec tester saw a reasonable amount of options boxes ticked, adding niceties like the red leather, power trunk, BMW Drive Recorder, blacked-out trim pieces, adaptive cruise control, and more. The final damage to the wallet? $69,120 ($80,825 CAD).
That drops the Bimmer somewhere between the more expensive (and more powerful) Mercedes-AMG C43, and the more affordable (but less powerful) Audi S4. We can’t speak to how close they come to the M340i’s driving experience. We can say that the Genesis G70 3.3T Sport comes close, but lacks the polished drivetrain and the advanced tech suite. It does massively undercut the Germans, however: even its top trim lists under the BMW’s before-options price.
It’s a fair chunk of change, but hear me out: if you want a gas-powered performance BMW this size, the M340i is the one. This is more than quick enough for everyday use, far closer to the M3 than previous generations. The M3 grips more tenaciously, but it rides harsher, and doesn’t provide appreciably more feedback to make up for it. Well, unless you go for the manual, which is only available on the M3 now. That is a good reason.
Personally, I’d skip gas entirely and just go with the wonderful i4.
Verdict: 2023 BMW M340i xDrive Review
The 2023 BMW M340i xDrive was one of those press loans I didn’t want to hand back after our time was up. The tidied-up looks hide a well-sorted chassis, complete with a high-watermark engine. It wormed its way under my skin as all the M-ness I’d need for a daily, without sacrificing the usability and approachability so inherent in the sport sedan DNA.
It’s not affordable, and it stretches the definition of “compact,” but the same can be said of everything in the class these days. But the 2023 BMW M340i xDrive continues its reign as the best all-round sport sedan in its class.
How much does the 2023 BMW M340i xDrive cost?
The 2023 BMW M340i xDrive rings in at $59,395 ($68,480 CAD) including destination.
How much horsepower does the 2023 BMW M340i xDrive have?
This BMW produces a max of 382 horsepower from its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.
What is the range of the 2023 BMW M340i xDrive?
With its 15.6-gallon (59 L) fuel tank, the M340i should do around 500 miles (805 km) on a single tank.
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- Powerhouse engine
- Still fun to drive
- Surprisingly frugal
- Ride can be harsh
- Infotainment too menu-heavy
- No manual