2016 BMW 340i: Whoa, Wait, How Fast Is It?
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on May 24, 2016
You might have seen the recent post that details our new long-term 2016 BMW 340i's performance at the test track. Hopefully, you noted its 0-60 time: 4.4 seconds. Or, 4.1 seconds with 1 foot of roll-out, which is how enthusiast publications would report it.
Either way, holy Bavarian cow. 4.4 seconds! Allow me to put that into perspective.
The last BMW 335i we tested, this car's predecessor, went from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds (no roll-out). This is not a matter of apples to apples, however, as that car had rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission, both of which reduce 0-60 times. An equally equipped previous-generation 335i did it in 5.2 seconds.
What about the M3? Well, we've only tested an M4, which is just marketing mumbo jumbo for "M3 Coupe." But, guess what? It went from zero to 60 mph in ... wait for it ... 4.4 seconds. Sure, it had a manual and rear-wheel drive, but you can definitely say a 340i can be just as quick as an M4. Wow.
Now, the last actual M3 we tested, a 2013 coupe with the otherwise awesome, dearly departed naturally aspirated V8 could only manage a 0-60 run of 4.9 seconds. That one actually had the DCT automanual. It was also one of the best cars I've driven in the last five years.
Now, let's venture outside the BMW realm. Just pulling some cars out of the air, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and its 503-horsepower turbo V8 hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds without roll-out. A Camaro SS with an automatic did it in 4.2. Our old long-term Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet could "only" manage 4.7.
Of course, all of those had rear-wheel drive, which certainly says something about all-wheel drive's traction advantages when trying to lay down the best numbers at a drag strip.
What does all of this mean for the BMW 340i xDrive? It's shockingly quick and our particular car represents its best case scenario. Should you get rear-wheel drive and/or the manual, you will be slower off the line.
However, having a slightly slower 340i is highly unlikely to detract from your enjoyment of the car since you'll realistically be unable to tell anyway. I would still get the manual, for I would appreciate the increased driver engagement more than the smug knowledge I'm just as quick as that guy's M4. I would also happily pick that aforementioned old M3 even if that guy and his turbocharged inline-6 could smoke me off the line.
Numbers are an important means of comparison, and in this case are eye opening, but the way a car actually feels and drives tells a far more important story.
James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor