Driven! 2020 BMW M340i

    The 7th Generation 3-Series is the second best looking, and the first best to drive.

    Up: Looks fantastic, so much tech, Portimao Blue Metallic paint (drool)

    Down: As always, options can double the price of a BMW

    Neutral: For once I can not find a single thing to gripe about.

    7 generations. Since 1975, BMW’s staple sedan has endured 7 full facelifts and countless model variations. There were special editions, “M” packages, coupes, and even a few station wagons. Now, 45 years later, the 3-Series has solidified itself as not only one of the best looking sedans on the road, but also one of the most technologically advanced.

    I’ll be honest, other than an 80’s coupe or M3 (E30 for you nerds), I’ve thought every 3-Series has looked kind of blah. Something was always off about them. Gen 3 looked like how a child would draw a car, Gen 4 had those plastic things framing the headlights, Gen 5 had weird taillights, and Gen 6 was just trying not to be Gen 5.

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    But Gen 7, however, looks fantastic. The proportions are spot-on, the body lines are fantastic, BMW finally ditched that ancient gauge cluster for an all-digital one, and, most importantly, the base 3-Series now has a decent front bumper. To me, that was always BMW’s crime against humanity: purposely making the base model bumper so undesirable that interested buyers were forced to upgrade to an “M” package.

    But I digress.

    Jake Fredrickson at Luxury Auto Mall in Sioux Falls, SD hooked me up with this 2020 BMW M340i and I absolutely loved this thing. I’ll get this out of the way early on because it my hit a bit hard, but this particular model is the closest thing to an M3 right now and rings up at just over $66,000. Still here? Great!

    As I’ve already stated, the 2020 BMW M340i looks fantastic. Besides, who doesn’t love a white sports car with black wheels? But it’s not just on the outside that’s dressed to impress. The interior steps it up as well. The first thing you’ll notice when climbing in is the all-new all-digital gauge cluster that BMW named the “Live Cockpit”. It looks super sleek, is a welcome evolution of the classic BMW design, and even changes faces when you switch driving modes.

    But the goodies don’t stop there. The M340i sports some of the best safety and driving tech on the road. Whether its the automatic driving assist, the 360 degree backup camera, the gesture recognizing technology, the heads-up display, or the wireless charging for your phone, the amount of digital conveniences are seemingly endless. My favorite function is the live vehicle status readouts showing your tire pressure, oil pressure, etc.

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    The 2020 BMW M340i is also draped in some of the highest quality materials to date. This has always been clear to anyone who has gone directly from a Toyota Camry to a BMW, but they seem extra tight for the 7th generation. Seats are comfy, rear passengers get digital climate controls, and BMW even integrated a cool pattern on the center console cover when they could have easily left it as black plastic.

    Since this 340i dons the “M” badge, it should be no surprised that the M340i is geared towards performance. The 3.0 liter twin-turbo inline-6 engine pumps out 382 horsepower and reaches 60 mph in 4.4 seconds; nearly 1.5 seconds faster than a $35,000 Volkswagen GTI. With the “M” package, per usual, you also get the amazing M brakes, suspension, variable sport steering. In short, this thing is a blast to drive with the push of a button.

    BMW has thoroughly impressed me with the 7th generation 3-Series. I’m not trying to discount former generations by praising the 2020 M340i so highly. This is just one of those unique situations where, after 45 years, every single piece of this car fits together perfectly. Not only does the 2020 BMW M340i perform the part of the ultimate driving machine, it also completely looks the part as well. And with the base 2020 3-Series starting at $40,000, it might just be the best all-around sedan on the road.

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    Chris Berke
    Chris Berke
    I am the founder and editor of Short Shift. My obsession with wanting to drive every car ever made me build a website so I could share my experiences with the world. I love cars, traveling, and my cats, Henry and Winston.


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