2016 BMW 340i xDrive: Monthly Update for January 2017
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
January was a busy month for our all-wheel-drive 2016 BMW 340i xDrive, and as the miles have steadily piled on, we've grown accustomed to the character of BMW's most popular sedan. Along the way, we've noticed some of the smaller details that long-term tests are designed to highlight, and we've even discovered some new quirks. In particular, Southern California's once-in-a-decade winter rainstorms wreaked havoc on our already challenged roads and brought forth an issue that many in snow country will surely experience.
Being the tail end of the holiday season, the first half of January allowed some of our editors to spend extended quality time behind the wheel. This is a rare treat — we're usually swapping in and out of cars two to three times a week. The second half was back to business as usual, with the 340i trading hands in quick succession and getting back to commuting duty.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We filled up five times over the course of over 1,600 miles, and saw an overall average of 20.5 mpg (high of 22.4 mpg, low of 18.9 mpg) during the month of January. Credit this to city driving, sitting in traffic and enjoying the 320 horsepower from the inline-six engine.
These results aren't uncommon for the BMW, but it goes to show you that your results will definitely vary based on usage patterns.
Average lifetime mpg: 24.1
EPA mpg rating: 25 combined (22 city/32 highway)
Best fill mpg: 34.6
Best range: 518.4 miles
Current odometer: 19,266 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"As others have reiterated, the different drive modes (Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro) really change the behavior of the car. Comfort is good, but Sport is better. I tended to avoid Eco Pro as it reduced the responsiveness of the throttle and transmission beyond the range of acceptability." — Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
"This will sound odd, but I've often appreciated the way BMW does sun visors, and the 340i is no exception. There's a lot of resistance to motion, and this is good — it means the visor (when in the side window position) doesn't swing around and hit me in the face when making moderately spirited left turns." — Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
"Torrential downpours greeted me as I departed Santa Barbara en route to Los Angeles. In the rain the 340i is as stable and confidence-inspiring as you'd expect. The rain-sensing wipers erred on the side of too infrequent for my liking, so I preferred the regular, dumb settings instead. No big deal. Heaps of traction is afforded by its AWD, which allowed me to deploy the 340i's considerable thrust without experiencing wheelspin." — Jason Kavanagh
"The radar system is smooth and reacts efficiently, although it takes the computer a moment to decide when a new lead car is relevant, leading to some harrowing moments of doubt about whether the BMW would stop itself in time." — Calvin Kim
"The frontal collision/adaptive cruise dingus doesn't like the rain. It chimed in with this display during my drive. It's an informative alert to be sure. As an aside, I predict that our inevitable autonomous future will be replete with sensor-washing systems, perhaps each with its own redundant system. Adaptive cruise was also disabled during my drive, which is no surprise since its function piggybacks on the frontal collision detection system. There is, apparently, a way to revert it to conventional 'dumb' cruise in this situation, but I was not in a position to research the owner's manual as directed (because driving). I instead futzed around with the cruise interface, holding buttons and such in a futile attempt to enable it via intuition. Oddly enough, the adaptive cruise would return if I cycled the 'power' on the cruise. Then it would click off again with the alert above after several minutes. There was really no rhyme or reason to the interval. Everything worked fine again once dry (and with no manual cleaning of the sensor), which leads me to believe this might be a maintenance item to check during its next service." — Jason Kavanagh