2016 BMW 340i: Our $60K 3 Series Is Missing Something
by Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor on November 3, 2016
Our long-term 2016 BMW 340i seems like it can do no wrong. However, BMW seemingly forgot about the feature that we warm-climate dwellers value as much as the rest of the world values catching rare Pokemon.
I am of course referring to seat coolers, or ventilated seats, or the greatest vehicle feature since air-conditioning. You won't find it in our $60k 340i, or in any 3 Series, for that matter.
My sister is looking for a new car to replace her beloved Audi A4 2.0T Quattro (with a proper six-speed manual gearbox). She was here in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, visiting from another warm climate, and I took her for a ride in the impressive new 2017 Jaguar F-Pace SUV. Her main takeaway from that ride was that her next car needed to have seat coolers. I guess she won't be looking at a 3 Series.
By comparison, BMW's main competitors in this space — Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus — all offer seat ventilation as an option. In fact, Kia managed to let this interior essential trickle all the way down to its Soul + model. That's right, you can get a 2016 Kia Soul + with seat ventilation for less than $25,000. I let my sis know.
So if you were beginning to think that our 340 was perfect, I'm here to tell you it isn't. But it's still my favorite car in the fleet.
Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor @ 5,126 miles