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August 28, 2023

Review: 2023 BMW M340i xDrive Touring

Before SUVs and crossovers took over the world, if you needed to haul stuff, there were wagons. Thanks to the popularity of cladded up raised passenger cars, wagons or estates (or Touring if you prefer the proper BMW term), are now relegated to a very fringe set of buyers. That’s why it comes as a pleasant surprise that BMW Philippines has decided to bring in not one, not two, but three members of the 3 Series Touring family.

Sitting at the middle of the range is this: the BMW M340i xDrive Touring. It’s not quite an M3 Touring (it’s available for P 10.49-million), but at P 5.89-million, it’s a big financial step up from the P 3.89-million entry-level 318i Touring. Its place in the 3 Series Touring line-up puts it at a difficult spot. Monied enthusiasts will surely head straight for the M3, while those on a budget won’t be willing to top up two million on what’s essentially the same car. So, who’s the M340i xDrive Touring buyer for then? Well, let’s find out.

One advantage the M340i xDrive Touring has is that it doesn’t look that ostentatious. Compared to the M3 and its flaring nostrils of a grille, this one is more visually related to the regular 3 Series. In turn, it gets the visual updates also found in the sedan like the slimmer headlights and more aggressive bumpers. People who know, know though and clues to the M340i xDrive Touring’s potency is found in the M Sport aero bits and unique side mirror treatment. If anything, we’d wish for thicker tires as the mixed aspect ratio 19-inchers look skinny here. As cliché as it sounds, this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

With 374 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque available from its twin-scroll B58 3.0-liter inline-6, this here is the ultimate sleeper 3 Series. 0 to 100 km/h is quoted at a sportscar-like 4.6 seconds, while top speed is set at an electronically limited 250 km/h. More than just on-paper figures, this is one fantastic powertrain with huge breadth. Not only is it happy cruising on the expressway, but it can easily adapt to attack mountain passes all-out. Switch over to Sport or Sport Plus (if you dare), and it will let out a beefy sound with crackles and pops. Shame that BMW had to add some exhaust sound fakery with Iconic Sounds; it reduces the impact provided by the real valved exhaust pipes.

BMW says to run the M340i xDrive Touring with 95 octane minimum so a diet of Petron XCS would be alright. However, to extract the most out of its performance, it’s best to go all out and fuel it up with Petron Blaze 100—the country’s highest-octane fuel, and one that meets Euro 6 standards.

Hooked up to that beautiful engine is an all-wheel drive system that BMW calls xDrive. Being rear-biased, it retains its playful nature, while offering an extra layer of security especially during inclement weather. Despite the adaptive suspension, the ride is firm, but it does manage to smoothen out big bumps and corrugations. It’s also high on refinement and stability too. Through corners, the M340i xDrive Touring is agile and balanced, with little in way of body lean. The steering is, simply put, brilliant.

Luckily for us, the M340i xDrive Touring has the driver-centric cabin to match its on-road manners. The tiller is thick which could make it an issue with people with small hands, but we didn’t have issue with it. The front seats are comfy enough for long journeys, but has enough bolstering to keep you in place during quick direction changes. It’s a shame that adjustable lumbar support isn’t offered here (but extendable seat cushions are). Still, because of the extensive levels of adjustment, finding the right driving position is done in a matter of seconds.

The seats are mounted low, but thanks to the slim pillars, visibility is quite alright towards the front. To the sides and back, however, the view is restricting. At least it comes standard with a myriad of sensors including automatic emergency braking for the rear and sides. Weirdly enough, while it does have a full set of sensors, the camera is only relegated to the rearview.

Along with the refreshed exterior looks, the updated 3 Series also adds the BMW Live Cockpit Plus imbued with their Operating System 8.0. Most functions are easy enough to use, but we lament having the climate controls migrate from its usual place to a permanent line in the 14.9-inch infotainment screen. At least the responses are snappy and the graphics sharp and easy to decipher. And for those who still prefer the classic BMW iDrive wheel, it’s still there. For the Philippines, the M340i xDrive Touring gets wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay along with a Harman Kardon Surround Sound system. If you’re looking for any sort of advanced driver aids, unfortunately they don’t come available. The demo unit did have Connected Drive installed, but it seems the features and functionalities aren’t active yet.

There’s not much to complain about when it comes to the M340i xDrive Touring’s interior quality. The dashboard is well-finished and the buttons all have a pleasingly solid feel when you press them. The seats are upholstered in Sensatec (aka leatherette), but they can easily pass for the real thing. The new toggle-like gear shifter is controversial and reduces a feeling tactility, but it does manage to free up elbow room in the process.

Towards the back, the rear seat space isn’t exactly all that big. However, it is cavernous for 3 Series standards. Plus, there’s more headroom here compared to the sedan. Sadly, the same issue surrounding that obtrusive transmission tunnel looms here, limiting the M340i xDrive Touring’s ability to fit three adults abreast comfortably. Still, you to have to applaud them for giving the people at the back their own climate zone along with rear vents and USB Type C chargers.

The “Touring” moniker is made clear with the giant 500-liter cargo hold. The load space is wide and flat, and there’s even an underfloor hold for small items (or the tonneau cover when not in use). The rear seats also fold in a 40/20/40 split and can be done conveniently from the cargo area. For chucking small items in like shopping bags, the rear glass even opens independently of the tailgate.

After all’s said and done, the BMW M340i xDrive Touring will attract a smaller sub-niche of an already niche segment. With the BMW M3 looking like that, we could already imagine buyers of this mid-grade not-quite-M wagon to be those who wouldn’t want to call attention to themselves, but still want a car that’ll deliver a lot of smiles per mile. Plus, it delivers the breadth of ability that makes it more livable or daily drivable on the streets of Manila. For the select few who know don’t want to compromise on driving fun, this is all the car you could use or want. Compared to any other crossover out there, BMW’s very own Sport Activity Vehicle line-up, included, no other car could quite match this as an emotional choice. For the logical, however, they could go for the X3 with some change leftover or even the bigger X5 at the same price. As such, the 3 Series Touring won’t be attracting a huge number of buyers, but BMW won’t care. What it gives really is the power of choice, and for a monied enthusiast, that matters.

2023 BMW M340i xDrive Touring

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Bottom Line
Pros Flexible and powerful engine, usable cargo space, communicative steering.
Cons Firm ride, tight rear room, expensive.
TL;DR A 95th percentile BMW M3 that you can daily drive.
Year Introduced 2023
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Luxury Car
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I6
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 374 @ 4,500-6,500
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 500 @ 1,300-4,300
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91 (Brochure), ~95 (Gas Cap)
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 6.25 km/L @ 12 km/h,
11.49 km/L @ 41 km/h
(fueled with Petron Blaze 100)
Fuel Tank Size (L) 59
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,713
Width (mm) 1,827
Height (mm) 1,440
Wheelbase (mm) 2,851
Curb Weight (kg) 1,880
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut, Adaptive
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link, Adaptive
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Pirelli PZero RFT 225/40 R 19 Y (front), 255/35 R 19 Y (rear)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 39 (all), partial load
44 (front) / 46 (rear), full load
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 8
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front, Side, & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features M Sport Differential
Rear Automatic Braking
Side Automatic Braking
Parking Assistant
Exterior Features
Headlights LED (Adaptive), w/ Auto High Beam
Fog Lamps Rear (LED)
Light Operation Automatic
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Power w/ Hands-Free
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-way
Seating Surface Synthetic Leather
2nd Row 40/20/40 Split-Fold, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 10.25-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, Auto-dimming, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control 3-Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 16, Harman Kardon
Steering Controls Yes

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