BMW has revealed its brand-new 2020 M340i, a hotted-up 3 Series that, of course, gets M badges everywhere - so people know you're a cool guy - but also some actually excellent upgrades. Torque now peaks at 369lb ft, helping the M340i to hit 62mph half a second earlier than the previous quickest non-M3 3 Series, the 340i (of the now discontinued F-generation) - although, again, some of the gains made in away-from-the-line performance can be attributed to the standard fitment of xDrive.
Power development and speed increase are accompanied by the characteristic sound of the straight six-cylinder engine, which has gained additional presence thanks to the M Sport exhaust unit.
BMW does, however, reiterate that its xDrive system has a definite rear bias, and has underlined the fact with the standard fitment of an M Sport differential at the back.
Once it launches, this new M340i xDrive will thus assume the role of the most powerful model in the seventh-generation range ... until the arrival of the new full-fat M3, that is.
But it has to look and sound the part too, doesn't it? BMW uses an 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission with new control systems and shorter gearing for response and acceleration. The Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers is also optionally available. Shift paddles on the steering wheel facilitate manual gear selection at any time. It's a rear-biased set-up that "supports that brand-typical driving experience" and is particularly effective in Sport and Sport+ modes, when targeted transfer of drive to the rear wheels enhances agility in corners, Munich claims. Other standard features include beefier M Sport brakes and Variable Sport steering, which adjusts to changes in the steering angle for better maneuverability.
The standard rims are 18-inch items (225/45 front, 255/40 rear), but one can opt for 19-inch M alloys in two designs as well as 19-inch BMW Individual wheels. Hence, you have reworked front aprons, side sills to optimise both the cooling air supply and aerodynamics, the BMW kidney grille has been given a mesh design and the rear spoiler has been dressed in body colour.
The M Sport vibe carries through to the cabin in the form of sports seats upholstered in a Sensatec and Alcantara combo, anthracite roof liner and M-badged steering wheel. The digital instrument cluster bears the "M340i" logo, which can also be found on the front door sills.