The Benchmark Has Been Refreshed, But Faces Stiff Competition
We Like: The styling, straight-six soundtrack, and improvements to front structure.
We Don’t Like: Admitting that the former benchmark is no longer out front.
Naturally we have high expectations for the BMW 3 Series—it’s been the benchmark sport sedan for decades. But with such newcomers as the elegant and sporty Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the upcoming 2017 Audi A4, the 3 Series’ reign is in jeopardy.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Car of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the Car of the Year introduction HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.
To fight father time, the 3 Series gets a face-lift for 2016—though you’ll have to look closely to see it. Underneath, front-end structural enhancements and suspension revisions quiet road noise and give the steering improved feel. There’s also a new straight-six! The B58 3.0-liter makes 320 hp, allowing BMW‘s clueless marketers to ditch the 335i badge from the old 300-hp car in favor of a higher number.
Unfortunately, the 340i is no faster than the old 335i. In fact, our 340i was slower to 60 mph than F30-chassis 335i sedans and coupes we’ve tested, and it tied the 435i convertible to 60 mph. At 5.1 seconds to 60, it’s no slouch, but the 340i trails the original 2012 335i’s 4.9-second run. It finally catches up at the quarter-mile mark, though, with a run of 13.6 seconds at 105.3 mph (169 km/h).
Inside, the interior is quieter, but BMW missed a chance to fix even the most egregious quality issues, such as the ill-fitting radio memory buttons. On the plus side, the new six is smoother than the one it replaces, especially at high revs, and it continues BMW’s tradition of a pleasing soundtrack and excellent boost control. Although the new suspension tuning in our M Sport package 340i buttons down the car’s previously heaving rear end, the car still felt numb and disconnected.
|2016 BMW 340i|
|Price As Tested||$61,920|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|Engine||3.0L/320-hp/330-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 24-valve I-6|
|Length x Width x Height||182.8 x 71.3 x 56.3|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||3,514 lb (54/46%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||5.1 sec|
|Quarter Mile||13.6 sec @ 105.3 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||115 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.84 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||26.1 sec @ 0.70 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||20/30/24 mpg|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||169/112 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 Emissions||0.82 lb/mile|