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PressClub Canada · Article.

The All-New 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans

The 7th generation of BMW’s iconic sports sedan. • New generation of design, suspension, engine and technology. • 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. of torque. Standard M Sport limited-slip differential. • M340i xDrive Sedan to make World Debut at LA Auto Show in November 2018. • Market Launch early summer 2019.

BMW M Performance Automobiles
3 Series

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Richmond Hill, ON. BMW is pleased to announce the introduction of the first 3 Series M Performance models, the 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans, the most powerful non-M 3 Series ever. The new top of the range, seventh generation, M Performance 3 Series will make its world debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show Nov. 30 – December 9 with the M340i xDrive model.

Over the past 40 years, no other BMW has embodied the concept of the Ultimate Driving Machine better than the BMW 3 Series.  Modern design, exceptional handling, efficiency and innovative technology, all signature characteristics of a BMW, have been developed to a higher level ever through tireless engineering and testing. The new 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans represent not only the core of the BMW 3 Series range (of which over 15 million units have been sold worldwide) but also the heart and passion of the BMW brand.


The first BMW M Performance 3 Series


Early summer of 2019 will see the arrival of the BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans in Canada. The new BMW M Performance models will showcase the full dynamic potential of the new BMW 3 Series. An updated six-cylinder in-line gasoline engine, M Performance chassis tuning, optional xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and the standard M Sport rear differential will deliver performance attributes that will satisfy and impress any driver.


The rear-wheel drive BMW M340i will offer the pure driving experience that 3 Series enthusiasts have enjoyed for the past 40 years. With reduced weight compared to its all-wheel drive sibling and enhanced steering feel compared to the outgoing models, the M340i Sedan will be the driver’s exhilarating driving companion. The BMW M340i xDrive Sedan adds the increased traction of all-wheel drive to improve the new model’s abilities in both dry and adverse road conditions.   


The new version of the straight-six engine, developed for the BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans, produces 382 hp and peak torque of 369 lb-ft. A 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds (provisional figure) takes this new BMW M Performance model into territory previously inhabited by BMW M cars.


The 3.0 liter, six-cylinder, inline engine in the BMW M340i and BMW M340i xDrive Sedans features an aluminum crankcase and aluminum cylinder head. A new, single, Twin-scroll turbocharger with an integral, compact, steel exhaust manifold and impellers that weight approximately 25% less than those of preceding models, builds boost pressure more rapidly. Fuel is supplied by means of new High Precision Injection technology, the injectors of which now operate at an injection pressure increased to up to 350 bar. The current version of M TwinPower Turbo technology also features fully variable valve control VALVETRONIC and variable camshaft control Double VANOS.


Power development and speed increase are accompanied by the characteristic sound of the six-cylinder, inline engine, which has gained additional presence thanks to the dual-pipe M Sport exhaust system. In SPORT and SPORT+ modes, which can be activated via the Driving Experience Control switch, the valve-controlled exhaust system generates a particularly distinctive sound.


8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission


The new 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans are equipped with the standard 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission. The latest upgraded version of this quick-shifting sport automatic transmission features a new, optimized hydraulic control system and shorter gearing for improved response and acceleration. The 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission’s Launch Control function optimizes traction during acceleration off the line more effectively than in previous versions and shift paddles on the steering wheel allow for manual gear selection.


Intelligent connectivity enables the sport automatic transmission to adapt its shift strategy according to the route and driving situation. Working with the standard navigation system, the 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission uses data from this system and from the Active Cruise Control system’s radar sensor. This makes it possible for the transmission to avoid unnecessary gear changes when negotiating a series of fast corners and, when approaching a vehicle ahead, for example, to shift down early in order to use the engine braking to scrub off speed.


The Auto Start Stop function and the coasting function available in conjunction with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission in the new BMW 3 Series Sedans also use data supplied by the optional Navigation System Professional with data from the standard BMW Active Guard driving assistance systems’ front camera. In this way, inefficient engine shutdown – for example when stopping briefly at intersections or roundabouts – can be prevented. Movement of vehicles ahead is registered in order to determine the ideal moment for the Auto Start Stop function to stop and start the engine. The coasting function is now available when either ECO Pro or COMFORT mode is selected using the Driving Experience Control switch between 15 and 160 km/h. The efficiency-enhancing decoupling of the powertrain only takes place in driving situations where performance and comfort are not compromised. If the driver suddenly lifts off the accelerator, the powertrain stays connected so that engine braking can be used to support deceleration. For the same reason, powertrain disconnection is also prevented when approaching a junction or a vehicle ahead.


BMW Intelligent xDrive


With fully variable power distribution between the front and rear axles, the intelligent four-wheel drive technology in the new BMW M340i xDrive Sedan ensures maximum traction, agility and vehicle stability. The rear-wheel bias of BMW xDrive supports the driving experience that driver’s expect from their BMW. The driver experience control modes SPORT and SPORT+ help support more dynamic driving even further by transferring power to the rear wheels when the driver is steering into a corner for example.


Like the rear-wheel drive M340i, the BMW M340i xDrive Sedan is also equipped with a standard M Sport rear differential. The electronically controlled, fully variable rear-wheel locking functions contribute noticeably to not only increase traction, but also enhanced stability and agility of the vehicle.


M Performance Chassis Technology


When developing the body structure and chassis technology of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, a number of clear priorities were set:

  • Enhanced driving dynamics
  • Agile handling characteristics
  • High-precision steering
  • Superior braking performance


The foundations for these attributes are provided by:

  • Careful weight reduction measures
  • A low center of gravity
  • A perfect 50:50 front/rear weight distribution
  • Increased front and rear tracks, compared with the predecessor model
  • Significantly increased camber values for the front wheels
  • Substantial increase in the stiffness of the body structure and suspension mounting

Overall body rigidity is up 25 percent, rising to as much as a 50 percent improvement in certain areas. The increased rigidity of the body and suspension mountings enables the standard M Sport suspension to go about its work in the most efficient way possible allowing for suspension spring rates to be increased by 20 percent over the previous-generation BMW 3 Series Sedan without loss of comfort.


In addition to these measures, new shock absorber technology has been developed for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. Used for the first time in a BMW model, the lift-related dampers are part of the car’s standard chassis and make a major contribution to the unique balance of sportiness and comfort – unrivalled by any other manufacturer – which defines the character of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans’ handling and steering dynamics have been fine-tuned with a series of precisely matched chassis components. The functionally coordinated interplay of suspension, steering, tires, brake system and differential lock makes sport driving an effortlessly enjoyable experience.


Lightweight construction and increased rigidity deliver greater agility.


The rigorous testing and development of the new chassis design enhances the agility of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan in a number of ways. Many details of the proven double-joint spring strut front suspension and five-link rear suspension have been upgraded. Along with the sportier handling, the car’s ride comfort and acoustics have both been improved. Aluminum swivel bearings and control arms for the front axle, aluminum wheel mounts and a new generation of wheel bearings for the rear axle significantly reduce unsprung weight. The front axle – with its increased level of component rigidity, the shear panels used to connect the axle to the body and its specially tuned kinematics – enhances both steering precision and cornering dynamics. Factors contributing to the high level of comfort provided by the sedan include a hydraulically damped torque strut bearing, which eliminates vibration and oscillation. At the rear axle, extremely rigid control arms and axle sub-frames along with the use of thrust arms for the body mounting ensure very precise wheel location.


Body weight reduced by as much as 50 kg., drag coefficient as low as 0.26.


As with the individual chassis components, the weight of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan’s body construction has been reduced. The progress achieved through BMW efficient lightweight measures is rooted in an intelligent material mix including increased use of high-strength steels and aluminum. The body-in-white is 20 kg lighter than that of the outgoing model and the front spring struts and engine sub-frame of the BMW 3 Series Sedan are now made of aluminum. This reduces the weight of the body structure by some 7.5 kg compared with the predecessor model. A further weight saving of almost 15 kg is achieved through the use of aluminum for the hood and front fenders.


The optimization of its aerodynamic characteristics benefits not only the efficiency of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, but also its performance. The drag coefficient (Cd) of the BMW 3 Series sedan has been reduced to a low 0.26, a reduction of .03 Cd over the previous BMW 3 Series. Factors responsible for the new segment-leading figures include the almost completely sealed underbody, aerodynamically optimized wheels, the use of Air Curtains at the front of the car and the latest generation of active air flap control, which extends across the BMW kidney grille and lower air intake.


Premiere of lift-related dampers.


A newly developed suspension and damping system contributes to the balanced handling of the new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans.

The introduction of lift-related damper control reduces body movement perceptibly smoothing out vibrations caused by bumpy road surfaces and dynamic cornering, which paves the way for sporty, authoritative handling. The system adds extra hydraulic damping at the front axle and a compression limiting system at the rear. It is continuously variable and adjusts the damper firmness progressively according to the changing spring travel. This prevents excessive body dive when driving over large bumps and so avoids uncomfortable, nervous damping response.


At the front axle, the first line of defense against body vibrations is an additional element within the inner sleeve of the damper. Only when greater loads are encountered does the entire damper become active. The rear dampers adapt continuously to the driving situation. Even when the vehicle is carrying heavier loads, they provide the ideal degree of hydraulic damping for the situation at hand. Lift-related damping is an active element of the suspension set-up and is designed specifically to optimize the balance between sportiness and comfort. The positive effect of progressive suspension adjustment can also be felt in less demanding circumstances; even small bumps can trigger damper lift, which makes a noticeable difference in enhancing passenger comfort.


Standard M Sport and optional Adaptive M suspensions


With kinematics and elastokinematics clearly tuned for dynamic driving, the standard M Sport suspension features more rigid bearings and additional body struts, firmer springs and anti-roll bars, and an even higher degree of wheel camber. The M Sport suspension now also applies to the all-wheel-drive M340i xDrive with the same 10 mm lowering in ride height as its rear-wheel drive sibling.


The optional Adaptive M suspension is the combination of M Sport suspension with electronically controlled dampers. Able to deliver damping force to each wheel separately via continuously adjustable valves, it is both the sportiest and most comfortable suspension variant available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The latest version of this damping system operates with new valves and an optimized control algorithm, which now also enables load-dependent control of the damping forces. In addition, switching between the different modes using the Driving Experience Control switch now results in a much more perceptible variation in the damping characteristics.


In COMFORT mode, the electronically controlled dampers provide well-balanced long distance comfort, whereas in SPORT mode they encourage a much more dynamic driving style. As well as modifying the damper configuration, each setting also influences the steering, accelerator response and the shift dynamics of the Steptronic transmission. ADAPTIVE mode is now also available. With this setting selected, the car automatically adjusts its responses to the driving style and, depending on the equipment specified, to the route profile. The control system responds to accelerator and steering inputs and the position of the selector lever to make the powertrain and suspension characteristics sportier or more comfort-oriented. The map data supplied by the optional Navigation System Professional is also used to prepare the car for an upcoming junction or bend.


Standard Variable Sport steering: More direct, precise and agile


With its variable ratio, Variable Sport steering is able to adjust to changes steering angle, making it as adept at keeping the new BMW 3 Series Sedan effortlessly in a straight line as at maximizing cornering agility or turning and maneuvering comfort. In its latest form, the variable sport steering is more direct in its responses, even when only a slight steering input is applied. Cornering is precise and responsive, while the wheel angles required for parking maneuvers are achieved with less steering wheel input required.


Standard M Sport brakes:


High-performance lightweight brakes play a very important part in the characteristics of the new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans.  The front brake discs measure 348 mm  with four-piston fixed calipers while the rear brake discs measure 345 mm in diameter with single-piston floating calipers.


The M Sport brakes provide excellent braking performance and intuitive feel, whether negotiating city streets or driving around a circuit on a track day. Combining an extremely sporty set-up - with short pedal travel and a distinct pressure point – with outstanding thermal resistance, they provide lasting and effective stopping power. The M Sport brakes achieve this with a more direct ratio as well as a different hydraulic configuration including four piston fixed calipers at the front and single-piston floating calipers at the rear. The brake calipers are painted blue and display the M logo.


The functions provided by the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system include not only anti-lock braking (ABS) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), but also a variety of stabilizing functions and the Start-Off Assistant. The standard Performance Control heightens the agility of the BMW M340i xDrive Sedan by distributing the power to the rear wheels as the situation allows. In order to optimize directional stability during heavy braking on surfaces with differing levels of grip for the right-hand and left-hand wheels, a steering impulse is applied to help the driver correct the car’s line. The functioning of the electromechanical parking brake is integrated into the rear brake calipers by means of the DSC system.


M Sport differential optimizes traction, agility, stability and cornering dynamics.


The standard M Sport differential in the BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans is an electronically controlled, fully variable locking rear differential helps that appreciably enhances traction and cornering. The active differential lock also has a positive effect on directional stability and agility.


Using the DSC system to precisely limit rotational speed equalization between the inside and outside rear wheel when cornering optimizes the transfer of power to the road in all driving situations. The electro-mechanical locking effect allows as much as 1,106 lb-ft of torque to be redirected from the faster-turning wheel to the slower-turning one. This means that, during quick cornering, understeer can be countered effectively. Here, the engine’s power, which cannot be transferred to the road by the unloaded wheel on the inside of a turn, is deliberately shifted to the wheel on the outside of the turn rather than applying the brakes to neutralize its effect. This draws the car into the bend and allows the new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans to accelerate out of the bend with grip and speed.


The effect of the M Sport differential is quickly noticeable in a series of fast bends. The distribution of power to each individual wheel prevents the tendency to oversteer in situations involving multiple changes of direction and load. Here, the transfer of more power to whichever wheel is on the inside of the bend enables the driver to stick to the chosen course with increased stability and confidence. Similarly, when the driver changes lanes and brakes at the same time, directional stability is optimized through the transfer of power between the right and left-hand rear wheels.

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