Review: 2016 BMW 340i

– Cleveland, Ohio

Once upon a time, a BMW had something its competitors couldn’t match: a driving experience ten rungs above anything else you could buy. Those days are gone, though, as the brand’s competitors have consistently climbed those rungs while BMW has seemed to lose its grip.

This 340i sedan is a perfect example of a BMW that was untouchable ten years ago (remember the ZHP 330i?) and now has trouble separating itself from a pack of worthy competitors that, frankly, aren’t looking up the ladder at BMW anymore.

Pros

  • Let’s start with the good stuff, and most of it can be found under the hood in the form of a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine that makes 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. No joke, some of the car mags have run this exact 340i to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds, which was supercar territory 20 years ago. But sucking you back into your seat isn’t why this engine landed in the Pro column. I liked it more for its smooth operation and burbling exhaust note than its power delivery, the full extent of which is buried in the Sport+ drive mode.
  • The styling of the 3 Series doesn’t really move me one way or the other, but the addition of the Track Handling Package ($1,700) gives it just the right amount of menace. The 18-inch Orbit Grey wheels that hide a set of blue-painted M calipers are cues this ain’t no 320i.
  • I’d take a set of these front seats in any car. They’re the perfect combination of control and comfort, with firm but ...