BMW has whipped the covers off its fastest (for now) 3 Series, with the M340i xDrive variant confirmed for a Los Angeles Motor Show debut ahead of its Australian launch next year.
While the rest of the range was revealed at the Paris Motor Show, BMW waited until now to unveil the big daddy of its mid-size sedan range. And the most powerful regular 3 Series promises some seriously potent performance.
Making use of a new version of the brand’s six-cylinder petrol engine, which fires 275kW and 500Nm toward all four tyres, the M340i will sprint to 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds. That’s quick. The Mercedes-AMG C43, for example, takes 4.7 seconds to knock-off the run to 100km/h, and even the outgoing M3 needs 4.1 seconds to get there.
That engine pairs with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and BMW is claiming fuel use of 7.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions a claimed 172g/km.
The xDrive all-wheel-drive system is the key to that performance, helping push the power into the tarmac through all four tyres rather than simply torturing the rubber at the rear. But worry not, it can double as a pseudo-RWD sedan, with BMW promising rear-wheel bias in the car's Sport and Sport+ modes.
BMW worked on the chassis of the M Sport car - giving it what it calls a “bespoke tune” - while an M Sport differential is standard fit, too. There’s also adaptive sports suspension, a sportier steering tune, lightweight 18-inch alloys and a booming M Sport exhaust.
While the Australian line-up is still being confirmed, expect the lower-powered cars to arrive first, landing in Q1 next year. But if you thirst for performance, you’ll have to wait; the M340i xDrive isn't launching internationally until July 2019, so an Aussie debut is unlikely before late in the second half of the year.
Like the rest of the 3 Series range, the M340i xDrive rides on the same modular platform that underpins the 5 Series and 7 Series. As a result, the new car is 76mm longer than the car it replaces (now 4709mm), and 16mm wider (now 1,827mm), and it rides on a 2,851mm wheelbase (41mm longer).
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