With the release of the new seventh-generation 3 Series, performance enthusiasts the world over have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new M3. And we’ll have to wait a little longer. But this ought to fill the void in the meantime.
It’s the new M340i, and it’s the most powerful non-M 3 Series that BMW has ever made. At its heart sits a 3.0-liter straight six with a single twin-scroll turbocharger that helps it kick out 382 horsepower (275 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. That’s more power than all but the two most recent iterations of the M3, and more torque than all but the outgoing model.
It’s fast, very fast
Full performance specs are still to be released, but BMW says the new M340i xDrive will be capable of rocketing from a standstill to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in just 4.2 seconds. As is typical of German automobiles, top speed remains electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h).
AWD and RWD
The power is transmitted to the rear wheels (or all four in the xDrive version) through an eight-speed automatic transmission. And the M340i also features an M Sport suspension or available active setup with new-fangled lift-related dampers, electronically controlled differential, a variable steering rack, and upgraded brakes measuring 13.7 inches (348 mm) at the front (gripped by four-piston calipers) and 13.6 inches (345 mm) at the back (with a single-piston caliper).
As you can see, the M340i has also been visually upgraded both inside and out. All this on top of the features that set the latest 3 Series on which it’s based apart from previous iterations of the benchmark sports sedan.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but the new top performance version of the BMW 3 is set to launch next summer.
*This story has been updated with images from the LA Auto Show