2016 BMW 340i: Performance Tested
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on May 17, 2016
Our newest long-term car, a 2016 BMW 340i, replaces the smaller, sportier 2015 BMW M235i in our hearts, minds and test fleet. We opted to go full luxury with regards to options with the 340i, but that doesn't mean all of the inherent BMW sportiness has been tuned out. In fact, the 340i posts better numbers than some purpose-built sports cars.
The 3 Series has always been one of the best performing sedans on the market. Read ahead to see our breakdown of the latest one.
Vehicle: 2016 BMW 340i xDrive
Driver: Jonathan Elfalan
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged and intercooled inline-six cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,998/183
Redline (rpm): 7,000 indicated/7,500 actual
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 320 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 330 @ 1,380
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut with double lower pivot, fixed dampers, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multi-link rear suspension, fixed dampers, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 225/45R18 91V
Tire Size (rear): 225/45R18 91V
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: Cinturato P7
Tire Type: Asymmetrical run-flat all-seasons
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,831
0-30 (sec): 1.8 (w/TC on: 2.2)
0-45 (sec): 2.9 (w/TC on: 3.6)
0-60 (sec): 4.4 (w/TC on: 5.3)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.1 (w/TC on: 4.9)
0-75 (sec): 6.4 (w/TC on: 6.4)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.7 @ 108.3 (w/TC on: 13.2 @ 107.3)
30-0 mph (ft): 30
60-0 mph (ft): 118
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.87 (0.84 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70 mph: 1,600
This engine is magnificent as usual, despite being new, with peak torque created as low as 2,000 RPM and sustaining all the way to redline. The inline-six is silky smooth and is always willing to rev to its limiter. The 8-speed automatic is equally commendable, executing shifts responsively, smoothly and with virtually no slop. It will hold gears in manual shift mode as well with Sport+ selected (otherwise will shift when you touch redline). Our fastest acceleration was achieved without launch control, as launch control limits engine rpm to 2,500 and this model has all-wheel and doesn't have to worry about wheelspin. To activate launch control, one must select Sport+ drive mode with sport shift selected. Launch control will not activate if sport shift is not selected. Then, while pressing the brake with your left foot, floor the accelerator with the right. A small launch control icon with activate in the gauge cluster if you did it right. As mentioned before, there is no wheelspin on launch, so not using launch control and letting the RPM rise slightly higher (to about 2700) is advantageous for the launch. Shifts occur automatically in this mode and as stated before are smooth and don't deliver much kick during shifts as some performance automatics do. The acceleration times, however, speak for themselves.
The brake pedal travel is on the long side and is a little soft as far as what you'd expect in a sport-biased BMW. Initial stopping distances weren't very impressive, but the ABS system is quiet and only nosedives mildly which cuts down panic-stop drama in an emergency stopping situation. Strangely, the stopping distance was best on the very last (sixth) run. As far as stability, this BMW skewed slightly off center initially, consistently to the left by a small degree, under hard braking. It's not something that would alarm the average driver, but some competitors like the Audi A4 provide a little more stability in this instance. Under normal driving, the brakes provide a nice progressive bite and are very easy to modulate. We also detected no odor after all braking runs were complete.
Around the skidpad, the 340i's weight balance feels pretty evenly split with the DSC stability control system turned off. Even with the all-wheel-drive system, the BMW handles more like it's rear-wheel drive, as the front tires don't slip and scrub much at all. With DSC on, the character is still pretty good, except the computer will sometime chop the throttle aggressively if it begins to sense the tires slipping, preventing a smooth continuous pace around the skid pad. In both situations it feels as though there is some torque vectoring at work, possibly through using the rear inside brakes, but I haven't been able to confirm this. As much as the 340i feels like it's willing to turn in at a slightly unnatural degree, ultimately the peak road grip isn't all that high. The steering has excellent weight, and a good amount of feel from the electrically assisted steering rack. It's one of the more natural-feeling electric steering systems I've experienced in a while. Very impressed with BMW, I think they got it right with this car.
Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 1,709 miles