2016 BMW 340i: Monthly Update for November 2016
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
We drove our 2016 BMW 340i about 1,500 miles during the month of November. It was an an uneventful month, truth be told. But it rained here in Southern California (something of an event!) and that gave us a chance to test out our car's traction-enhancing all-wheel drive. We also visited a BMW dealership for some warranty work and impressed visiting family members during Thanksgiving. All and all, it was a solid month for our 340i.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
For the month, we averaged 25.3 mpg. That's right at what the EPA says to expect for a 2016 340i with all-wheel drive. You might even consider this to be better than expected given how compelling it is to give the 340i the spurs and take advantage of the turbocharged engine's 320 well-bred ponies. The same could be said for our lifetime average, which is holding steady at close to 25 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 24.6 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 25 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway)
Best fill mpg: 34.6 mpg
Best range: 518.4 miles
Current odometer: 16,408 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
When I brought our 340i in for a oil change service back in August, the dealership wasn't able reset the car's oil change indicator. A diagnosis eventually led to the discovery that our car's oil level sensor was defective. At the time, though, the dealership didn't have the part (it had to be special-ordered from Germany). I decided to just wait until a more convenient time to get our car fixed.
This month, at the 16,109-mile mark, I took the 340i to my local BMW dealer (BMW Fresno) to have the sensor ordered and installed. It took about half a day and was covered under warranty. From the service invoice: "As per previous diagnosis, found faulty oil level switch. Drained oil into clean container. Removed and replaced oil level sensor and reinstalled oil and reset lights."
"Our 2017 BMW 340i's handling capability does little to impress. This isn't a luxury sport sedan that inspires me to seek out curvy roads or take the long way home, nor is it a willing or energizing sedan the way I'd hope a 3 Series would be. Much of the blame could go to the lifeless steering. It provides little feedback or a sense of control. On occasions when I've thrown our 340i into a turn, it feels heavy, too. The good news is that our 340i is a secure and stable sedan. But it's just not much fun when the road bends." — Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
"We've got an all-wheel-drive 340i, as indicated by its xDrive name. It's pretty much unnecessary considering it's sunny and warm about 95 percent of the time in Southern California (which is where Edmunds is based). But it did rain today, and that gave me a chance to see what happens when you give the gas pedal a solid whack. Answer: It's the same outlandish acceleration as when the pavement is dry. No wheelspin or drama, just warp speed. Whee! Our 340i is an all-season sport sedan." — Brent Romans
"I hopped into our 340i this morning and noticed that the tire pressure warning light was on. It's getting cold here in California (cold for us thin-skinned Californians, anyway), and experience has shown that low pressure indicators often pop up because of the lower temperatures. But you never really know, right? It could also be an actual tire puncture. Thankfully, our 340i provides very useful tire pressure information. It shows up on two displays: a basic one in the gauge cluster and a more detailed one on the central display screen. By monitoring the tire pressures, I confirmed they weren't dropping further, so it was indeed just the cold temps that had set it off. I inflated our tires up a bit to compensate for the colder temps, and all is well again." — Brent Romans
"Although the 3 Series may have grown over the years, it's still not quite the full-fledged executive sedan you might think it is. Take the trunk for instance. You can barely fit one standard size golf bag in it. If fact, I had to take my driver out just to get it in there without bending anything. Of course, if you really had to fit another bag in there, you could always fold the backseats down. Three bags isn't going to happen without a little creative packing." — Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor
"Is this BMW's idea of helpful traffic information? There's way too much data crammed onto the navigation screen. You can't see the difference between the highway traffic and the surface streets. It's a mess and far from helpful. It should default to highway traffic only and make the streets a different color. Otherwise it's just a maze of colorful lines that mean nothing." — Ed Hellwig
"Compared to many touchscreen infotainment interfaces, BMW's iDrive is harder to learn. There's more of a learning curve required to know how to make it work and find what you want. But the good news is that once you learn it, it's a superior interface. Using the knob-based controller (and the surrounding physical buttons) requires less of your attention than pushing virtual buttons on a touchscreen, and that translates to less driver distraction. iDrive's menu structure is logical, too. Of the main infotainment interfaces out there, iDrive continues to be my favorite." — Brent Romans
"It was fun having the keys to our 340i during the Thanksgiving holiday. I shuttled a few visiting family members around, and they all came away impressed. I even got to point out and employ the heated rear seats for my mother-in-law, and for that I'm sure I scored a point or two. At one point, though, my father-in-law asked how much our 340i cost. I pretty much blew his noodle when I told him that our car ran about $60,000. 'Geez, that much? I'll stick with my Chevy Malibu, thanks,' was his retort." — Brent Romans