Ever since the BMW M340i first debuted, fans have wondered if it was worth getting instead of a proper BMW M3. After all, it’s almost as quick in a straight line, considerably less expensive, more comfortable on a daily basis, and—in this new case—better looking. But can it actually be considered a budget M3 or is it an entirely different car that won’t satisfy the palace of M3 buyers? In this new video from Carwow, Mat Watson decided to test the M340i to find out.
On paper, the BMW M340i isn’t much of a match for the M3. Its 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 might be the basis for the M3’s S58 engine but its 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque isn’t much of a match for the M3, whose base engine makes 473 horsepower. However, in the real world, the M340i’s combination of low-end torque and all-wheel drive makes it a formidable opponent. In this video, Watson was able to beat BMW’s claimed 4.4 second 0-60 mph time, by doing it in 3.81 seconds. And that was in the freezing cold on wet pavement. It’s also only a few tenths slower than the real-deal M3. That’s quite remarkable, actually.
It’s also surprisingly fun to drive for a non-M car. Its steering is precise, its body is well controlled, and it has almost as much grip as the M3. It will slide a bit, especially in cold damp weather like this video, but it’s easy to control and it sort of adds to the fun. It’s nowhere near as brutally capable or as effective as the M3 but it’s still plenty of fun.
The BMW M340i is also more comfortable on the road, which makes it the better daily drive. That’s no surprise but when you combine that added comfort with handling that’s almost on par with the M3, it might become the better overall package. The M340i lacks the absolute highs of the M3, including its performance and handling, but it also doesn’t have the lows, like its rough ride and strange looks. Plus, it’s cheaper. So is the BMW M340i truly the perfect BMW and an overall better buy than the M3? find out
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