Every now and then I get to sample something special, something that should be kept a secret because some cars excel so well in certain areas, you don’t want everybody to find out about this little secret BMW has been hiding. Though BMW has gone and changed up their range once again, you need not worry, The 340i is no 4.0l.
The BMW 340i, which now replaces the previous 335i has seen a rather big change in the engine compartment. The N55 platform, which has a cult-like following, has been replaced by the B58 engine, producing 240kw and 450nm. The engine is so incredibly smooth with plenty of power available everywhere. Even the peak torque figures are available from a low 1380rpm. Though the engine wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is, if it wasn’t mated to the ZF 8 speed gearbox, which also comes with a full on coast function, when driving in the ECO Pro Mode.
Now this new 2016 model has not seen a lot of changes from the 2015 model. What we have that is new is the LED headlights and more room in the back. Yes, rear legroom has increased and will easily fit a rugby player.
Though the cabin has been left untouched, you may, and some still wonder why BMW has not done anything dramatic. I’m not so sure I agree and I like the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it “attitude. The cabin is still very well laid out and everything is where they supposed to be, even more if you are coming from another BMW. Sure it’s a bit behind the A4 and C class, but BMW does have a bit more up its sleeve, than just dash layouts. The Harman Kardon Audio is as good as anything you will find in a vehicle and the interior on our Sportline model was a blend of piano gloss and silver inlays that features an orange ambient light at night.
The 340i was optionally fitted with adaptive suspension, which stiffens and lowers the ride height at touch of a button, this same drive mode selector, will turn the 340i from a docile comfortable daily driver to a bit of a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, sharpening up the throttle, hardening up the suspension and optimising the gearbox for quicker shifts. The 340i driven in sports mode can be very rewarding and while it will dash to the 100kph mark in around 5 seconds, it’s seriously no slouch. I sometimes wonder why you need anything quicker.
The Bimmer is pretty good on fuel too; all this considered and we often saw figures in the 8l/100km mark. Weirdly, it almost always crept up to the 10l/100mark, but all is forgiven and even at those figures I find it very impressive, considering the power, the efficiency is just a bonus.
The 340i ticks a lot of boxes. It’s elegantly styled with a hint of sportiness and it’s very quick. It’s the perfect sports saloon for the introvert who wants an M3, but can’t face the attention.
The 340i in Sportline trim retails for R701 200 and comes standard with a 2-year unlimited km warranty and a 5 year /100 000km maintenance plan.
For more info – bmw.co.za