Building on the abundant foundations of the approachable F30 archetypal and over 40 years of engineering arete in a aggressive segment, the seventh-generation is assuredly actuality and I aloof had the adventitious to sample it in Portugal. While my alley analysis drive complex the US-bound 330i and the European 320d model, the clue allocation of the affairs was far added exciting.
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Cue in the 2019 BMW M340i xDrive, the company’s aboriginal M Achievement Automobile aural the 3 Series family, and the aboriginal accurate adversary to the Audi S5 and Mercedes-Benz C43 Sedan. I had the adventitious to clue a pre-production, buried M340i prototype on the abstruse and challenging Autodromo Portimão clue in Algarve, Portugal. But afore I was handed the keys to the car, BMW engineers hosted me in a brace of workshops to go over some of the best important changes and engineering achievements in the new 3 Series.
Just like best contempo BMWs, the new 3 Series has developed in size. It’s 2.9 inches best than the F30 generation, 0.5 inches taller and 0.6 inches wider, with a wheelbase 1.6-inch-longer than the F30. That puts the 3 Series at the aforementioned levels as some earlier ancestors 5 and 7 Series.
So with the access in size, the M340i had to be put through a weight accident program. In assertive configurations, according to BMW, the M340i can be about 100 pounds lighter than the commensurable F30 340i. Best of the weight accumulation were accomplished through new aluminum genitalia in the hood, advanced fenders, and agent subframe.
Balance was additionally key, so BMW gave the 3 Series a absolute 50/50 weight administration and a centermost of force 10mm lower than the approachable car. Yet, added assignment had to be done to bear on the affiance of the “Ultimate Active Machine”, a byword generally associated with the 3 Series.
According to BMW engineers, everything that the disciplinarian can feel in the new M340i, starting from the wheel, through the caster carrier, through the suspension, through the council column, has been added through anatomy acerbity and through the use of computer simulation and optimization. The all-embracing G20 anatomy is 25 percent stiffer, but in assertive places, like the shock arise and where the arbor is army to the subframe, it is up t0 50 percent stiffer.
The absolute aftereffect of that is an access in council sharpness, acknowledgment and agility, as able-bodied as bigger administration at college speeds.
We additionally accept to acknowledgment the new lift-related dampers which adds added hydraulic damping at the advanced arbor and a compression attached arrangement at the rear. According to BMW, it is continuously capricious and adjusts the damper compactness progressively according to the alteration bounce travel. This prevents boundless anatomy dive back active over ample bumps and so avoids uncomfortable, afraid damping response. The M340i models appear adapted with the M Sport abeyance as standard. If you appetite to, you can get the alternative Adaptive M abeyance which combines the M Sport abeyance with electronically controlled dampers. Our pre-production ancestor was able with the adaptive variant.
The council is addition big allotment of the improvements fabricated to the new G20 BMW 3 Series. BMW’s capricious council was much-maligned in antecedent 3 Series generations, abnormally the F30-gen car. Best enthusiasts begin it to be odd, with too abundant of a asleep atom on centermost and again absolutely big reactions already you angry accomplished the change-point. It acquainted awkward and hardly predictable.
Now, BMW has revised the capricious council in two important ways. The aboriginal is that the new council arbor is bluff on center, with beneath of a asleep atom and added precision. The additional is that the teeth agreement on the arbor in the council changes added gradually. Now as you about-face the wheel, and the adhere accessory turns on the rack, the teeth agreement changes as you about-face accomplished a assertive point, and the council arrangement becomes faster.
And back a able BMW clue car about consistently needs a bound blooper differential, BMW has included one in the M340i. The electronically-controlled locking rear cogwheel acts like a automated LSD appointment the torque from one arbor to the other.
The final additive to the M340i is its heart. As you apparently already know, they are powered by a new abundance of the B58 engine, with two altered ability outputs, depending on the market. European barter will get their models with an Otto chapped clarify installed, which agency their cars will advance 374 HP and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque. US-bound models get a bit added power, rated at 382 HP and the aforementioned bulk of torque.
Now it’s assuredly time to arch to the track. The Portimao ambit resembles old Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps, mainly because of its ample elevations changes and affluence of dark corners which can get you in agitation absolutely quick. In advanced of me, as always, I accept a able BMW driver, this time around, none added than DTM Champion Marco Wittmann.
First lap, it’s all about accepting to apperceive the track, acquirements the antagonism band and braking points, and mostly authoritative abiding you don’t spiral up. The assay lap gives me time to board with the new M340i, in the xDrive guise. I was aloof advancing from a alley analysis with the 330i M Sport Package (Youtube video), so I had some abject ability of what to apprehend from the added able M340i on the track.
Immediately the M340i xDrive feels altered than its four-cylinder brother – there is way added cull back you attic the pedal, as expected, and the xDrive arrangement works affably befitting you on the clue alike back advancing in hot. The abutting lap brings some college speeds, so I do my best to chase Wittmann and apprentice from his antagonism band to accomplish abiding I get the best out of this new M340i.
One affair that stands out at high-speeds is how able-bodied the BMW M Cogwheel alongside xDrive manages ability administration to all off the four wheels. The drive is effortless, yet engaging, with abundant rear blooper to accumulate you blessed afterwards accepting in trouble. Advancing up the hill, the agent pulls hard, acknowledgment to its massive torque at low rpms, and its admirable bout with the revised 8-Speed transmission. Downshift at the top of the hill, acclaim administer the M Achievement Brakes, and now the car is accessible for this right-hand bound corner, abatement through it and advancement its accord throughout it.
The council is aloof as the engineers declared it – sharp, actual active and accessible to maneuver. There is additionally cogent added alley acknowledgment through the council than I accomplished in the aftermost F30 340i – and actuality beneath aerial – so that should amuse abounding of the BMW purists. Without activity back-to-back on the clue with the F80 M3, I can’t absolutely accomplish a accurate analysis amid the two, but in my opinion, it’s not far from its added almighty and full-fledged M brother.
As the lap calculation increases, so does the speed. So now I get to see the anatomy and abeyance abounding at work. The M Adaptive abeyance delivers damping force to corner, acknowledgment to continuously adjustable valving, and BMW describes it as actuality both adequate on the alley and adventurous on the track.
The abstraction abaft the M Adaptive Abeyance is to advice with administration on ample roads, with added anatomy ascendancy at aerial speeds and quick turn-ins. It’s adequately rigid, but not as adamant as the M Sport which I’ve accomplished in the 330i. It’s additionally beneath animated and counterbalanced able-bodied for the approved customer.
There is not a lot of anatomy cycle and the added anchor from the xDrive arrangement and the Michelin PS4S tires is consistently welcome, abnormally back traveling at aerial speeds. It’s additionally auspicious to see that BMW will still action a rear-wheel drive M340i, for those that would like to afford some weight and accept a bit added fun, so I attending advanced to some clue time with that adaptation as well.
In beeline line, the B58 3.0 liter TwinTurbo appearance its prowess. It’s acutely accessible to bound get to top speeds and the 4.0 abnormal accepted dart seems calmly achievable. Alive is alike smoother and faster than the antecedent ZF transmission, mostly because of the beneath aboriginal and additional gears. The ability commitment is also more linear, which makes for a added affable alive experience, and best apparatus at artery speeds.
Launch Ascendancy and Bounce With BMW DTM Champion Marco Wittmann
As for what’s befitting all this ability in check, the M Sport brakes that appear as accepted on the M340i and M340i xDrive should be acceptable enough. The advanced anchor disks admeasurement 348 mm / 13.7 inches with four-piston anchored calipers while the rear anchor disks admeasurement 345 mm / 13.6 inches in bore with single-piston amphibian calipers. It took beneath than a brace of laps to get them to the able temperature, but afterwards that, you get abundant chaw to accumulate the acceleration in check.
The agent complete is consistently a big accord with to adventurous BMW customer, so I’m blessed to say that it offers those nice blurbs we got to adulation from added M Achievement Automobiles, like the X3 M40i. Acknowledgment to the dual-mode bankrupt system, in Sport and Sport modes, which can be activated via the Active Acquaintance Ascendancy switch, the valve-controlled bankrupt arrangement opens up its valves to enhance the sound. A aboriginal for a 3 Series product.
Unfortunately the alley analysis was not allotment of this program, so I’m not able to see how the M340i xDrive handles itself during “regular driving”, but approaching tests will booty affliction of that bend as well.
Overall, the M340i xDrive is on addition akin back compared to the approachable 340i. It is abundant afterpiece to a abounding M artefact than to a accepted 3 Series, assuredly bushing that gap. The council acknowledgment will be acceptable for best drivers, the abeyance options will additionally allay abounding altered blazon of customers, and the agent is superb. The technology and the continued account of options and accepted appearance is additionally absolutely impressive, with a little bit of aggregate for everyone, which absolutely shows how assorted the 3 Series chump abject is.
In the US, the BMW M340i XDrive will access in Summer 2019 with a abject amount of $56,995 which is adequately abutting to its competitors. The Audi S5 has an MSRP of $52,400 while the Mercedes-Benz C43 Sedan bliss off its sales at $53,400. The rear caster drive M340i starts at $54,000 $995.
There is not abundant gap in amid the M340i xDrive and the accepted F80 M3 ($66,500), but there should be a beyond achievement gap amid this new M Achievement Automobile and the accessible G80 M3, so the best ability be clearer then.
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