This is the fastest, seventh-gen BMW 3-Series you will soon be able to buy that’s not a full-fledged M model. It is the BMW M340i, a four-wheel-drive sedan that’s quicker than an old V8 M3.
Though one down from the upcoming M3, this M340i is no slouch. There’s BMW’s familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six, here featuring an aluminum crankcase and cylinder head, “compact” steel exhaust manifold, and a redeveloped twin-scroll turbo.
The fuel injectors work under increased pressure, and the motor also gets Valvetronic and double Vanos cam control to generate a total of 370hp and 500Nm of torque. Allied to a four-wheel drivetrain (rear-biased) and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it’ll see off the 0-100kph dash in 4.4sec. This, BMW says, is “half a second faster than the top-of-the-range model of the previous generation.”
It’s also three-tenths quicker than the old V8 M3 (E90) with a dual-clutch gearbox. Yikes. Should sound good, we’re promised, thanks to twin exhaust pipes direct from M Sport.
In fact, the M people have worked over the suspension and diff, too. It’s 10mm lower than a regular new 3-Series, the suspension components have been lightened, the track width has been subtly widened, and there are optional adaptive M dampers and a standard electric diff. There’s also something called ‘variable sport steering,’ said to provide better feedback. Hmm.
The brakes have been beefed up—bigger discs (348mm/345mm front and rear) hide behind 18-inch wheels, though you can option 19-inchers. Besides that, there’s a new kidney grille mesh, rear spoiler, mirror caps, air-intake struts, and an interior garnished with M Sport bits (steering wheel, seats, instrument cluster).
We’ll see the M340i for real at the upcoming LA Auto Show at the end of November. What on earth will they cook up for the full M3, we wonder...
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.