Performance flagship of the upcoming G20 3 Series features significant power upgrade over outgoing model

Just over a month after the unveiling of the standard 3 Series, BMW has pulled the covers off the range-topping M340i version at the LA motor show.

The performance flagship sits above the 330i in the upcoming G20-generation 3 Series range.

The M340i marks the first time that BMW’s sporting sub-division has preceded the model number of a 3 Series, reflecting the volume of design and tuning elements carried over from full-blown performance models such as the M3.

The M340i’s 3.0-litre engine is constructed largely from lightweight aluminium, while a revamped turbocharging system promotes improved fuel efficiency and turbine response. 

At 369bhp, the power output of the six-cylinder unit is 47bhp more than that of the most powerful previous-generation 3 Series. Peak torque is up as well, rising by 37lb ft to 369lb ft.

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The power upgrades translate to a 0-62mph time of 4.4sec, 0.5sec faster than the outgoing 340i – an achievement brought about in part by the shorter ratios of BMW’s latest eight-speed automatic gearbox.

By comparison, the M340i’s biggest rivals, the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG and Audi S4 are capable of a 4.7sec 0-62 mph time.

The new model sits 10mm lower and has a wider track than other variants in the 3 Series line-up, while electronically controlled dampers come as part of the optional Adaptive M suspension system. 

M tuning extends to the standard brake system on the M340i, with M-branded calipers mounted to 348mm discs at the front and 345mm discs at the rear. M-branded 18in alloy wheels can be wrapped in a range of performance-oriented tyres. 

The M340i’s design also sets it apart from the rest of the range. Extra vents at the front are said to “optimise both the cooling air supply and aerodynamics”, while model-exclusive styling elements include a colour-coded rear spoiler and trapezoidal exhaust. 

The launch of the M340i follows speculation that the 2019 Geneva motor show will see the debut of the 3 Series Touring, which will likely be available in M340i-spec. 

Customers can order an M340i from approximately £49,000 as of May 2019, with first deliveries expected from August. 

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