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2019 BMW 330i/2020 BMW M340i

VEHICLE TYPE:
front-engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

BASE PRICES:
330i, $41,245;
M340i, $54,995

ENGINE TYPES:
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 255 hp, 295 lb-ft; turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 382 hp, 369 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION:
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 112.2 in
Length: 185.7 in
Width: 71.9 in
Height: 56.8–57.0 in
Passenger volume: 95 cu ft
Trunk volume: 17 cu ft

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)

Zero to 60 mph: 4.1–5.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.4–13.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.5–13.9 sec
Top speed: 130–155 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)

Combined/city/highway: 27–24/21–24/30–34 mpg
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The 2019 BMW 3-series: Back from the Brink
“The new G20-generation 3-series is bigger, more powerful, and once again engaging to drive. ”

Turn 16, the last, longest, and fastest on the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal, is a chassis engineer’s nightmare, a driver’s test, and an exercise in commitment in the new BMW M340i xDrive, currently the sportiest version of the new seventh generation of BMW’s 3-series sedan. The blind crest early in the long right-hander is useful both for tuning the car and for assessing its composure at the limit. Nail the line, commit to the throttle before the rise, and the all-wheel-drive sedan rotates confidently when it lightens before settling into the compression at corner exit. Get it perfect, right foot pinned to the floor, and the M340i will carry a neutral attitude all the way onto the front straight. It’s a delicate balance executed by a competent chassis and steering feel from this new 3-series that once again inspires confidence at speed.
A Lighter, Larger 3-series

We drove two versions of the new G20-generation 3-series in Portugal: rear-drive 330i models on the street and the M340i xDrive on the track. The Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform undergirding both cars is stiffer, lighter—shaving 120 pounds over the previous-generation model, according to BMW—and, yes, larger than the car it replaces. It grows 1.6 inches in wheelbase and 3.0 inches in overall length, and it has a wider track both front and rear. Still, the priorities are right: Its center of gravity is lowered 0.4 inch relative to the outgoing F30 3-series.

Both the modest 255-hp four-cylinder 330i and the driver-focused, 382-hp inline-six–powered M340i offer class-competitive turbocharged powertrains with power gains of 7 and 62 horsepower, respectively, over the models they replace. Both demonstrated the composure we expect in the class thanks to a sincere effort by the chassis team and a genuine investment in hardware. The four-cylinder feels similar to most boosted 2.0-liter fours in this segment, offering adequate if uninspired power. Grunt comes early with this engine, but its high-rpm response doesn’t encourage chasing the redline. It’s certainly not slow, but its power delivery and sound make it more a tool than a toy. The six triggers deeper emotions. It’s smoother and sounds better, and it makes the M340i a seriously quick thing. Both models are available with rear- or optional all-wheel drive, with the rear-drive M340i exclusive to the U.S. market. This is no knock to ZF, but its ubiquitous and effective eight-speed automatic is regrettably the only transmission choice.

Chassis Changes for Better Handling

Among the new hard parts is an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It’s bundled with 19-inch wheels (with summer tires on rear-drive models and all-season rubber on xDrive versions) and a variable-ratio steering rack in the Sport package ($5000) on the 330i; that equipment is standard on all M340i models. But the bits that seem to matter most, the ones primarily responsible for a controlled chassis when pushed and a comfortable one otherwise, are the new position-sensitive dampers—hydraulic-stop dampers, in BMW-speak—which come on both the base car and those with the Sport package. The dampers use a tapered inner tube (on the compression stroke in the rear and on the rebound stroke in the front) to increase damping force by 50 percent. Adaptive dampers are optional on either version and were installed on the M340i xDrive models we drove on the track. But their presence isn’t required for excellent dynamics.
… Read More https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a25473093/2019-bmw-3-series-m340i-330i-driven/

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