Wanting to take advantage of the red-hot car market in early 2021, I have distanced myself from my 2020 BMW M2 competition. I decided to do something a little more practical for everyday driver responsibilities and find a second “fun car”. Impressed by the G20 3 series I drove up to that time, and especially fascinated by the xDrive car launch, I opted for a BMW M340i xDrive. Now, a year and about 8,000 miles later, I think this is a good time to give a long-term review.
Coming from a manual M2 competition and being an enthusiast, I was hesitant to go for an all-wheel drive, automatic sedan. But in the end, the BMW M340i xDrive turned out to be a lot of fun every day, but not necessarily because of the usual BMW. I ordered my M340i with xDrive because of the built-in handling convenience, but what I came to enjoy was the positively violent launches. With or without launch control, the M340i xDrive can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour at a Tesla-rival speed.
Quick line closures are important, but historically we haven’t bought a BMW – Let’s talk about its management. I’ve only taken the car to the canyon a few times, and there’s not a ton of communication from the steering wheel, even though the grip and power are adequate. Even less talkative than the last-generation M-Car, but it does a little better than the comparable offers from Mercedes or Audi. Despite the swollen weight of the Sport Plus steering wheel, I find myself at home the most. Since none of the modes seem to be very communicative, at least the weight reminds me of hydraulic steering in older cars.
Ride loyal to the BMW M340i xDrive. One thing about the M2 I vividly remember is how it handled less than perfect pavement, which was not always nice. But of course, the same hardness paid dividends in the canyons. The M340i does a trade-off in the opposite way – trading the ability to work without dropping your lattice for a little more body roll.
After all, despite having an xDrive, the car still drives like a BMW. It will rotate voluntarily, and the AWD makes the car very forgiving unless you’re completely rude with the throttle, even with all the nannies off. Unfortunately I don’t have the best tires on the car right now – all-season – but I’m really looking forward to hooking up some good performing summer tires soon.
Reliability and own cost
The BMW M340i xDrive was still reliable, with only about 7,500 miles of annual service. More than once, the park assistant apparently collided with a ghost and chose to make himself unavailable for whatever reason. In each instance, the car returns to normal operation after being stopped and restarted.
So far the cost of ownership is only equal to the price of insurance and gas, both equal to M2. I got about 17 mpg on average, which is acceptable considering most of my driving city and Sport Plus. I once returned 38 mpg on a road trip in Northern Arizona, traveling at about 80 miles per hour, which is great for a 382 horsepower turbo-six. It’s definitely not the cheapest car to drive, but no BMW. Overall, I’m fine with the cost of ownership so far.
iDrive 7 As far as I can tell the business is going to be the best. There have been a few software updates, and I chose to accept them through the MyBMW app. The first few attempts have been made – I’m not sure what the problem was, but it did receive the update. The second update worked on the first try. Apple CarPlay has been mostly reliable, but it has done some weird things. Once, it has been unpaired and will not be backed up even after restarting my phone. Other times it will only make phone calls through speakers, not music. In both cases the iDrive reboot solved the problem.
I thought head-up displays would be essential in the early days of ownership – especially the M2 lacked one. But I started to find it confusing, especially in areas with low ambient light at night (i.e., no street lights). Fortunately, in the lowest brightness setting it is still visible during the day but not distracting at night.
After all, the MyBMW app has been great for a lot of things – usually, remote start and remote unlocking and locking. Also, with the help of climate control rules I can make sure that the car stays at the right temperature whenever I enter – hot Arizona is helpful in both summer and cold climates.
Value and separation thinking
The BMW M340i xDrive has been a joy to own for the past year. While it lacks the edge of the M2 and other full-fledged M cars, I’m not sure it’s important. Its use tends to be more practical and versatile than all-around driving engagement and I think that’s okay. The technology – remember, the M2 had iDrive 6 – is a welcome addition and it has become something I enjoy. I think for 60,000 (which was close to my car’s MSRP), you’ll have a hard time finding a better daily driver, jack-of-all-trades, than the M340i xDrive.
I still have a lot of time with the M340i and I will definitely be able to change the tires more quickly to make it more performance based later. I think I want to take the car to an autocross or even two, just to see how it compares to the original M car. But the BMW M340i has already proven to be the best daily driver I own, and I look forward to spending more time with it.