2016 BMW 340i: A Very Potent 320 Horsepower
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on August 9, 2016
Plenty of luxury sedans can be had with engines that produce more than 300 horsepower these days. But finding one that can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds is a lot harder. Our 2016 BMW 340i did just that in our instrumented testing, yet it's rated at a mere 320 hp. Typically, you'd have to shop cars packing closer to 400 hp to get similar performance.
Somewhere within in the depths of BMW's engineering offices, there's got to be a motivational poster with a picture of a kitten poking its head out of a box and text below reading: "Underpromise and Overdeliver."
The other interesting thing about our turbocharged 340i is that it's not a one-hit wonder with that zero-to-60 sprint. Check out its quarter-mile time in the performance test linked above: 12.7 seconds at 108.3 mph. In general, any factory-spec car that can run 12s is impressively fast. A 2014 Porsche Cayman S PDK, for example, ran a firstname.lastname@example.org in our testing, and get this — a 2012 Audi R8 4.2 manual ran a email@example.com. How's that for company. Many other turbocharged test cars have produced quick launches to 60 mph but lost steam at the quarter-mile mark, whereas the 340i just keeps on pulling like the naturally aspirated Porsche and Audi.
Don't get me wrong, having easily accessible power that gets you up to freeway speeds quickly and effortlessly is advantageous. That's why modern turbo engines make sense — it's the way most of us use our cars. But BMW has earned a reputation for making spirited engines that produce plenty of power at high rpm, and true to form, the 340i's turbocharged inline-6 never runs out of breath. Horsepower is said to peak at 5,500 rpm, but you can still wind it out towards its 7,000-rpm redline and enjoy the rush.
For me, it's this kind of motivational spirit that puts the "M" in BMW. If you're shopping for a small luxury sedan with more than 300 hp, don't go by the spec sheet alone. Take a test drive, too. I'm sure the 340i is going to win you over.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,045 miles