Wanting to take advantage of the red-hot car market in early 2021, I parted with my 2020 BMW M2 Competition. I decided to hop into something a little more practical for daily driver duties and seek out a second “fun car”. Having been impressed by the G20 3 Series I had driven up until that point, and particularly impressed with the launches of the xDrive cars, I opted for a BMW M340i xDrive. Now, one year and about 8,000 miles later, I thought it an opportune time to give a long-term review.
Coming from the manual M2 Competition and being an enthusiast, I was hesitant about hopping into an all-wheel drive, automatic sedan. But ultimately, the BMW M340i xDrive has proven to be a very fun daily, but not necessarily for the usual BMW reasons. I had ordered my M340i with xDrive because of the inherent handling benefits, but what I’ve come to enjoy more is the positively violent launches. With or without launch control, the M340i xDrive gets up to 60 mph with a Tesla-rivaling rapidness.
Being quick off the line is important, but it’s historically not the reason we buy BMWs – let’s talk about handling. I’ve taken the car to the canyons only a handful of times, and while the grip and power are adequate, there isn’t a ton of communication from the steering. It’s considerably less talkative than even the last generation M cars, but it does a marginally better job of it than comparable offerings from Mercedes or Audi. I found myself most at home in the Sport Plus steering, despite its inflated weight. As none of the modes seem to be very communicative, at least the weight reminds me of the hydraulic steering in the older cars.
The ride on the BMW M340i xDrive is compliant. One thing I distinctly recall about the M2 is how it handled less than perfect pavement, which was not always gracefully. But of course, that same stiffness paid dividends in the canyons. The M340i makes a trade off in the opposite way – trading the ability to get your latte to work without spilling it for a bit more body roll.
Lastly, despite having xDrive, the car still drives like a BMW. It will rotate willingly, and the AWD makes the car very forgiving unless you’re a complete barbarian with the throttle, even with all the nannies off. I unfortunately don’t have the best tires on the car right now – all-seasons – but will be really looking forward to hooking up some better performing summer tires soon.
Reliability and Cost to Own
The BMW M340i xDrive has been reliable so far, having only been in for its annual service at around 7,500 miles. More than once, the Park Assistant has apparently collided with a ghost and simply chosen to make itself unavailable, for whatever reason. In every instance, it returned to normal operating condition after turning the car off and back on.
Cost to own so far has been only the insurance and gas prices, both of which are very close to the same as the M2. I’ve got an average of about 17 mpg, which is acceptable considering most of my driving is city and in Sport Plus. I once returned 38 mpg on a road trip to Northern Arizona, cruising around 80 mph, which is fantastic for a 382 horsepower turbo-six. It’s certainly not the most inexpensive vehicle to run, but no BMW is. Overall, I’m fine with the cost of ownership thus far.
iDrive 7 has continued to be the best in the business as far as I can tell. There have been a couple of software updates, and I opted to receive them via the MyBMW App. The first time took a few tries – I’m not sure what the issue was, but it did eventually accept the update. The second update worked first try. Apple CarPlay has been mostly reliable, but it has done some weird things. Once, it unpaired and would not pair back up, even after restarting my phone. Another time it would only play phone calls through the speakers, not music. In both instances restarting the iDrive fixed the issue.
I thought the Head-Up Display to be indispensable during the first days of ownership – especially having lacked one in the M2. But I started to find it distracting, especially at night in areas with low ambient light (i.e., no streetlights). Luckily, on the lowest brightness setting its still visible during the day while not being distracting at night.
Lastly, the MyBMW App has been great for a lot of stuff – most commonly, remote start and remote unlocking and locking. Plus, with the climate control rules I can ensure the vehicle is at just the right temperature every time I get in – helpful in both the hot Arizona summers and the colder climates I occasionally venture into as well.
Value and Parting Thoughts
The BMW M340i xDrive has been a joy to own for the last year. Though it lacks the edge of the M2 and the other full-blown M cars, I’m not sure it matters. Its use case tends to be one of practicality and versatility more than all-out driving engagement, and I think that’s okay. The tech – remember, the M2 had iDrive 6 – is a welcome addition and has become something I enjoy having. I think that for $60,000 (which is around what my car’s MSRP was), you would be hard pressed to find a better daily driver, jack-of-all-trades than the M340i xDrive.
I still have a lot of time with the M340i and will definitely be changing out the tires sooner rather than later to something more performance oriented. I think I would also like to take the car to an autocross even or two, just to see how it compares to the real M cars. But the BMW M340i has already proven to be the best daily driver I’ve ever owned, and I look forward to spending some more time with it.