It’s a classic case of sibling rivalry in the world of BMW. While the M3, M5, and other formal M models continue to be the range toppers in their respective model families, the M Performance models have always been the figurative middle children. Designed to deliver M-level performance at a more approachable price point these models are the perfect balancing act, but they can sometimes fall behind the spotlight when their fire-breathing M cousins are wheeled in. That includes the 2022 BMW M340i, which aims to deliver an alternative slice of performance. But can it accomplish this goal, and is it a true four-door version of the Toyota Supra?
M340i xDrive Has The Best Excuse To Rock Purple Paint
It’s no secret that this latest iteration of the 3-Series is starting to age a bit, but while the canvas may be starting to show some wrinkles, there were no such blemishes in the vibrant Daytona Violet Metallic that adorned our tester. This $4,500 special edition color is worth it for those that want to embrace their inner abstract artist, and it’s not often that you see a purple car snaking its way through the Metro Detroit landscape. The camera phone-ready color is also paired with blacked-out chrome accents, and unlike some other BMW models, the 3-Series has so far escaped the larger front grille designs that have defined many BMW models in recent years, but time is slipping away so buyers looking to embrace this gen’s plainer look will need to act quickly.
Move past the front fascia, and the rest of the M340i still checks off many of the core boxes that sport sedan fans love. The side profile is crisp, and the prominent design line in the doors’ lower part helps add character to this 3-Series. The car’s rear is perhaps its strongest trait, and we liked how the smoked taillights worked with the vivid purple paint on our tester. The overall result is still expressive, but Audi and Mercedes have made updates to the A4 and C-Class, respectively, and the Audi, in particular, has the potential to knock the BMW off of its styling perch, especially if BMW miscalculates on the front grille design for the next gen model.
Technology And Simplicity Balance Out Aging Interior
Slip inside the interior of the M340i, and it largely follows the same script that defines the exterior. On the surface, there’s nothing too impressive about it, and the soft but cheap-looking plastics and splashy aluminum inserts don’t help much. The backseat is also unreasonably tight for taller passengers, but thankfully, the front seats are comfortable, supportive, and have enough bolstering for a wide range of driving situations.
The big trump card here, though, is the technology, with our tester arriving with BMW’s Digital Cockpit Professional standard. This neat setup incorporates a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a smaller 10.3-inch central touchscreen. This screen, in particular, has benefited from some updates and still looks good with plenty of vibrant colors and crisp graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present here, but both of these setups now come with wireless support and smartphone mirroring capability. However, we still recommend diving into the owner’s manual since the system has a steep learning curve, especially accessing key menus.
Look for the next generation 3-Series to potentially address some of these ergonomic issues, especially with the latest iteration of i-Drive and some of the new software that would help reinforce the core essentials that underpin the infotainment system. If we were to judge the system amongst its peers, we will say that it still has a leg up over the C-Class, but the A4’s infotainment system has seen its fair share of improvements over the past few years which have helped Audi’s system catch up to the BMW’s, especially in usability and high feature content.
Is It Really A Four-Door Supra?
OK, we know what you might be thinking; how can this BMW be compared with a two-door Toyota that shares its platform and other essentials with the BMW Z4 roadster? The answer lies under the hood, with our tester arriving with the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder. This six-cylinder also sees duty in the Toyota Supra 3.0 model and even makes the same 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed transmission is also used too, but our example’s all-wheel-drive system allows the Bimmer to have a slight acceleration edge over the Toyota, with our tester completing the sprint to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds which is slightly better than the 4.3-second 0 to 60 we recorded in the Supra 3.0.
The fore-mentioned Supra also happened to be in attendance at the office, and before it left to go home, we drove both side by side to see whether the M340i xDrive is a good substitute for the Supra in overall dynamics. Both models have crisp acceleration, and the engine has plenty of confidence in urban and freeway driving. That said, a gap does appear in handling, with the Supra’s tendency to wag its tail under hard acceleration, causing it to give up ground to the BMW. In contrast, the all-wheel drive and the slightly heavier curb weight of our tester allowed it to have a more mature nature to its handling, and we never felt the rear of the car move around once in hard cornering, with the suspension doing a good job of keeping the car composed and drama free in the twisties.
In the end, it becomes apparent that while the performance hardware is the same, both cars have unique personalities. That said, if your looking to recreate some of the magic that you get in the Supra but have kids to haul around on the weekdays and need the extra rear seat room, we highly recommend looking at this BMW as an interesting alternative.
Pricing for the 2022 BMW M340i starts at $56,700, but our all-wheel-drive example arrived with over $14,000 in options which caused the final sticker to balloon to $71,570 after you factor in all of its options and the $995 destination fee. That’s a lofty slice of change, and this pricing also puts our fully loaded example in the same ballpark as a base M3 which starts at $72,800. It also causes our tester to enter territory occupied by more powerful sports car entries, which also offer newer technology and styling for the dollar.
That said, the 2022 BMW M340i xDrive is still a viable performance sedan entry. It straddles the tightrope between the lesser members of the lineup and the firebreathing M3 models’ thanks to an enviable blend of traits inherited from both sides of the family. This allows the M340i to be entertaining in pure rear-wheel drive form or a solid four-season sport sedan when equipped with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system and the eye-catching purple exterior paint.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.