Subtlety is rarely executed well these days. Often, when there’s any kind of a refresh in the auto world, it’s the “better, refined, all-new” adjectives that accompany the model and there’s a noticeable change that the masses pick up on. And while that works for some manufacturers, the Bavarian folks have made changes you can primarily feel in the 2016 340i via a new engine and have dabbed the creative pen sparsely yet tastefully for the eyes.
For 2016, the 335 ups its numerical name plate to become the 340i. There’s attractive refinement illustrated in the front fascia and the rear and standard LED lights throughout the exterior. It’s still easily identifiable as a BMW from a distance but as they say, it’s all about the details.
Riding on 19” wheels definitely gives an elegant stance to the 340i and the Tanzanite Blue my tester came bathed in was simply beautiful.
Beneath the hood is where the biggest change occurs. The 3.0 L, inline six-cylinder, TwinPower Turbo, all-aluminum engine (B58, for the BMW aficionados) churns out 320 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. of torque, which is an increase over the outgoing 335 model. My tester was the xDrive (all-wheel drive) and there’s a rear wheel drive option available. In a perfect world, I’d take the xDrive as my winter car and the rear wheel drive option as my summer car.
I’m happy to say that BMW has included a manual option for the 340i for those drivers who truly want to be in control. True, the paddle shifters in the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission will provide greater accuracy in gear changes but there’s an unmatched feeling of flinging the gears through the gates with your right hand, even if your body motions aren’t quite as exact as a machine.
I won’t bore you with details about how the 340i handled incredibly well, or how utterly responsive it was, or even how accurate the steering was. There’s a reason why BMW is renowned for its drive quality.
Drivers can select between Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro for drive types depending on the type of driving to be done.
The short version? Power, performance and precision are at the root of the 340i.
Inside, much remains the same from the outgoing model. There’s a bit more chrome/gloss accents for additional flair and smartly, BMW has opted to get new proverbial cufflinks as opposed to an entirely new suit.
For regular readers, you’ll know that I’m a strong proponent of the iDrive system. It’s so damn easy to use and navigate, you don’t have to lean forward to touch the screen and there’s no icky fingerprints left on the 8.8 inch centre console/infotainment system.
Bluetooth connecting is a breeze and the Harman Kardon sound system is straight up wonderful. As a musician, one of my favourite things is having a full digital equalizer to customize your type of sound.
In non-breaking news, the dashboard layout is simple and clean, the seats are astoundingly comfortable and the overall look and feel of the cabin is predictably BMW. Consistently modern that’s unmistakably premium.
One of a select few issues is the on/off switch for the heated steering wheel, which is located on the steering wheel column and nearly out of sight. I know, I know, I’m kinda stretching it here but it’d be much better suited in a location that’s visible.
Also, you’ll be filling the tank with up to 60 L of the good stuff at the pump.
The Premium Package, which will set you back $6,500, adds a rear view camera, heated rear seats (for the two rear passengers that will fit comfortably), front and rear parking distance control, high-beam assist, active blind spot detection, surround view, heads up display (which can be deactivated), the aforementioned Harman Kardon premium sound system and other goodies.
The highest rung of the 3-series ladder, the 2016 340i gives you exactly what you pay for. Yes, it’s a bit on the pricey side once you start adding options but the result is that you’re getting every slumping Canadian dollar's worth.
The base price for the xDrive is $54,500 (add $400 for rear wheel drive), which is close to $15,000 more than the entry level 320i, so if you’re in the market for at 3-Series, know that the higher price point will be felt in the driver’s seat opposed to the driveway.
At the time of publishing this, fuel efficiency figures were not available.
If you like a precise driving experience, a well-crafted interior, plenty of power and can appreciate doing 100km/h on country back roads as well as jostling through city traffic in an urban world, BMW continues to offer “The Ultimate Driving Experience.”