The new 3 Series goes on sale in South Africa during the first half of 2019, with the M340i likely following at a later stage. These cars also have a dual-pipe exhaust system with a valve inside that in Sport or Sport+ modes generates a more distinctive sound.
BMW does, however, reiterate that its xDrive system has a definite rear bias, and has underlined the fact with the standard fitment of an M Sport differential at the back.
Since this isn't a full-blown M model but an M-fettled one, the M340is uses the base of the new G20-generation 3 Series in largely unchanged form.
On the cosmetics front, the M340i gives a nod to Merc's success with over-styling the front-end jewellery, debuting a new look-at-me grille treatment and just a hint of gold colouring across all of the usually silver exterior highlights. After unveiling the 330i at the Paris Motor Show, BMW will debut the more powerful M340i in Los Angeles later this month. Regardless of which wheels are driven, the M340i comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Short ratios for the lower gears improve acceleration and a Launch Control function can be used for showboating. A rear-wheel-drive auto is also available. Also altered are the track widths and wheel camber angles. An M Sport suspension is standard, lowering the ride height by 0.4 inch, and an adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers is available.
"You can also opt for 19-inch alloys (in two designs and with mixed tyres) if the standard 18" wheels don't fit the bill. It's made up of four-piston fixed calliper brakes (blue with M logo) and 348 mm discs in front, and single-piston floating callipers grabbing 345 mm discs at the rear. Instead, it signals its ranking with some extra aerodynamic features on the front bumper, a few M badges and some grey metallic trim outside.
Inside, there's sport seats trimmed in faux leather and Alcantara, or proper optional leather seats with contrast stitching.
Despite all these differences, we can see the appeal of all three interior designs, although knowing what we know about the W205 Mercedes C-Class, we wouldn't be surprised if the M340i's cabin quality would surpass that of the C43's, with the S4 being slightly better in that department as well.