CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.
Generally speaking, I like most of the stuff BMW is putting out these days. The newToyota Suprais excellent, the 8 Series is a delight and even that little2 Series Gran Coupeproved to be a nice surprise when I drove it in prototype form. But if you can’t get your bread and butter right, what’s the point of everything else? I’m about to see ifthe new 3 Seriesis any good.
This is a BMW M340i xDrive. Until the new M3 drops, it’s the top 3 Series you can buy. It has 382 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, and as you figured out from the name, it has all-wheel drive, although a rear-drive version is available as well.
BMW seems acutely aware that the hardcore faithful weren’t too thrilled with its last 3 Series, the F30. The people from that brand swear up and down that this one is better—lighter, more powerful and with a retuned suspension.
But it also lost the manual transmission entirely, and is now wider, longer and taller. So you be the judge. Or more accurately, I will, because that is ostensibly my job.
Things I like so far:
- The latest turbo inline-six is damned quick.
- The eight-speed ZF automatic is, as usual, excellent.
- It’s got a great interior, and BMW’s current iDrive tech suite is among the best out there currently.
- It seems to be a really comfortable size for daily-driving.
Things I don’t like as much:
- Sorry to be that guy, but I miss the manual.That was probably the thing I liked most about the last car.
- Is it really a return to form the way BMW says? I’m definitely not convinced yet.
- Comfortable as it is, I fear the 3 Series has gotten too big. Or we all just need to accept that the car we knew and loved has been effectively replaced by the 2 Series Coupe. Maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world.
This one’s pretty loaded and priced at $69,570. Got questions? Ask away.