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2016 BMW 340i XDrive Review +VIDEO By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

AUTO PAGE SPECS: 2016 BMW 340i XDrive
MODEL: 2016 BMW 340i XDrive
ENGINE: 3.0-liter I-6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 320 hp @ 5,500 rpm/332 lb.-ft. @ 1,380-5,000 rpm
WHEELBASE: 110.6 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.8 x 71.3 x 56.5 in.
TIRES: P225/45R18
CARGO: 12.0 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/33 mpg highway/14.8 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 15.8 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,870 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Audi A6 quattro, Mercedes-Benz CLA AMG, Cadillac CTS AWD, Volvo S60 T6 R-Design
STICKER: $59,920 (includes $995 delivery, $11,425 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The 40th anniversary BMW #-Series does not disappoint, except for the sticker. The “Ultimate Driving Machine” has great power and handling with a tasteful styling update.

Clearly, the BMW 3-Series has evolved. From a square-styled beginning it now sports modern style with new features, such as LED daytime running lights, pushbutton start/stop and a modern BMW shifter.

But it’s still a 3-Series; a solid, sporty compact car that is the epitome of the “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

I like the 3.0-liter inline six that’s under the hood. There’s more than enough power and torque for rapid acceleration and decent economy. No, we didn’t achieve great economy in our test, primarily because it was a bad week in the Heilig household and most of our driving was between our house and the doctor’s offices.

However, we did have a few opportunities to floor the accelerator and enjoy the power. There’s a short straight hill in our area that begs to be driven fast, and I did. Just as I was enjoying myself (almost) too much, a car came the pother way and I had to be sensible. I’d love to drive this car on a closed course.

The BMW shifter is unlike any others. It’s almost a sequential shifter that requires just up and down movement to move among the gears. “Park” is a simple pushbutton that always takes me a while to remember, but the car won’t let me leave it unless I am in Park, so I learn quickly.

The 340i is Teutonic to a fault. For example, there is an excellent sound system, but it can be a challenge at first getting where you want. The iDrive controller on the center console works well. It handles media, radio, telephone, navigation, plus the menu. Again, it takes time to master but it’s better than poking buttons on the dash. There are more than 20 buttons for audio and HVAC.

I credit BMW for sticking with the iDrive. I remember when it was introduced and some journalists complained that it was too complicated. Well, it was to a point. But like the 3-Series, it has evolved into a valuable tool.

The front seats are comfortable with good side support in the kidney area. They are heated, which was a benefit, considering our circumstances. The HVAC system worked well, especially in some fierce cold weather. Rear seat legroom is okay for the size of the vehicle. They are heated as well. There are manual shades on the rear windows, plus smaller ones on the “wing windows” to the rear of the main windows. The rear seats have good outside side support, and when supplemented by the pull-down arm rest the seating is comfortable.

Instrumentation consisted of four clear white-on-black dials; two smaller ones for fuel and water and two larger ones for the tachometer and speedometer. A heads up display keeps your eyes on the road. The speed limit notation in the HUD is almost as large as the speed, just to keep you honest.

Interior storage consists of a good glove box, a pair of cup holders at the bast of the center stack and room for water bottles in the doors. The center console/arm rest has USB and AUX plugs, plus a snap-in adapter for phones.

Lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control provide good safety. A feature I loved was the 360-degree “overhead” view that appears on the center screen when you’re in reverse and parking. It’s better than the traditional rear view camera in that it gives a more comprehensive view, like where curbs and lines delineating parking spaces are located.

Overall, the BMW 340i is a nice small BMW package with a large BMW sticker. If BMW could figure how to cut the price by about $10,000, it would be so much better.

© 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

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