2016 BMW 340i: I Prefer the M Sport Steering Wheel
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on May 27, 2016
If my memory serves me right — and it usually doesn't — our 2016 BMW 340i is the first BMW I've driven with the standard sport steering wheel. With the exception of our long-term i3, which had a unique wheel, every BMW I've driven in my two-and-a-half years at Edmunds has been either a true M car or was equipped with the M Sport package.
Among other upgrades, the M Sport package adds an upgraded steering wheel that feels fantastic. The standard sport wheel just doesn't measure up. If I was in the market for a BMW, I would have to get the M Sport package for the better wheel.
The M Sport wheel feels substantially more padded and thicker in my hands than the standard wheel. The buttons are shaped like arrows pointing outward from the center, which is more appealing in design and feel than the boxy layout on the normal wheel.
The shift paddles are more prominently displayed with the M Sport's slimmer wheel, which emphasizes the performance-oriented look. Finally, the smooth leather wrapping on the M Sport feels expensive, while the bumpy leather on the regular wheel feels kind of cheap, like a really high-quality urethane.
Caption: The M Sport steering wheel in our old long-term 2015 BMW M235i.
Our goal with the 340i was to get the most luxurious version of the 3 Series that we could. Unfortunately, that meant leaving the box for the M Sport package unchecked and its excellent steering wheel absent. The normal wheel is merely OK, it doesn't live up to the quality promised by a 3 Series that flirts with a $60k price tag. For me, the M Sport package is a must, and not just because it's required to unlock Estoril Blue. The superior steering wheel makes the 3 Series feel like the sport sedan it is.
Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 2,853 miles