Competing against the Mercedes-AMG C43 and Audi S5 Sportback, the 2021 BMW M340i xDrive was only launched in early March. However, demand for the locally-assembled sporty version of the new 3-Series was such that the entire first batch allotted for India was almost instantly sold out. Perched right at the top of the 3-Series lineup, the M340i xDrive wore a price tag of Rs 62.90 Lakh (ex-showroom, India). Compared to its svelte Audi rival, the M340i xDrive isn’t just cheaper, but it is also faster. It seems like all the customers had already done their homework well in advance.
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The question is, what makes the M340i xDrive so special so as to clear-out the first batch so quickly? Well, just like the S5 Sportback, the spicier M340i takes the assistance of a larger, six-cylinder engine. But, unlike the Audi that uses a V6, this Bimmer houses a 3.0-liter straight-six! Along with generous amounts of petrol and loads of turbocharged air, this powerplant cranks up the heat to 374hp and 500Nm of torque. In comparison, the S5 Sportback’s V6 manages a slightly lower 349hp but an identical 500Nm of torque. While their power figures aren’t that far apart, the BMW M340i xDrive is quicker by 0.4 seconds from 0 to 100 kmph than the Audi.
However, as far as the top speed is concerned, the M340i xDrive and S5 Sportback can both do 250 kmph. BMW has equipped the M340i xDrive with an 8-speed torque converter automatic gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system. To keep up the spiciness quotient, the M340i gets several M Performance upgrades over the regular 3-Series. This includes optional 19-inch M light alloy wheels, lower & stiffer sports suspension, a sports rear differential, and uprated brakes with four-piston calipers at the front. Moreover, BMW has also retuned the dynamic stability and traction control systems of the M340i for a more spirited driving experience.
The interior of the 2021 BMW M340i xDrive is also slightly different from that of the standard 3-Series. Firstly, there is the Sensatec/Alcantara upholstery, which is specific to M Performance BMWs. Then there are other M Performance touches such as the blue & red M seatbelts, BMW Individual Anthracite roof liner, M Sport steering wheel, and aluminium sill plates with the “M340i” branding. Even the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster gets its own M340i graphics. On the features front, the M340i xDrive gets a 10.25-inch touch-infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, LED ambient lighting, wireless charging, a power sunroof, and three-zone automatic climate control.
Meanwhile, the exterior of the 2021 BMW M340i xDrive comes in three colors that are specific to it – there is Dravit Grey, Tanzanite Blue, and Sunset Orange. Adding to the sporty character of this sedan is its aggressive-looking front with a newer kidney grille, mostly finished in gloss black. BMW has also thrown in gloss black side skirts that stick out further than on the standard 3-Series.
Finally, there is a neat boot-lip spoiler at the back, plus trapezoidal dual-exhaust tailpipes and a different rear diffuser. If you like some attention, the new M340i will deliver that to you without any qualms. However, the Audi S5 Sportback will deliver even better on that front. If reports are to be believed, the second batch of the BMW M340i xDrive might cost more than the first.
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