The new 2019 BMW M340i xDrive has been revealed tonight ahead of its Australian debut, properly positioned as an AMG C43 rival – and with the glittery grille bling to match.
By comparison, the outgoing, rear-wheel-drive 340i lists 240kW, 450Nm, and 5.2 seconds. A fair improvement, then.
UPDATE, 9AM 14/11: Interestingly, Australian and European press releases for the m340i detail an xDrive model only, while the American release confirms availability of both xDrive and rear-wheel-drive – the latter clearly for the US market only.
BMW Australia has so far declined to acknowledge that model, so it seems clear we'll see only the AWD xDrive variant.
In terms of power and torque, the new sub-M3 M offering still falls short of AMG's new entry-level option – the all-wheel-drive C43 4Matic – thanks to its recent 17kW power boost to 287kW, and the same 520Nm it already offered. But, then, AMG only promises a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds.
Power in the M340i is provided by a twin-scroll turbocharged in-line six, of course, matched to an eight-speed Steptronic auto. Nope, no manual here.
In the new line-up, the M340i will rule for a while above the four-cylinder 190kW/400Nm 330i and the 135kW/300Nm 320i. Diesel models include the 195kW/580Nm 330d, the 140kW/400Nm 320d, and the 110kW/320Nm 318d.
Australian specifications are still to be confirmed, but the global release talks of standard-fit 10mm-lower M suspension, optional adaptive M suspension, variable sports steering, 18-inch M light alloy wheels and M-Sport brakes, along with an M-Sport differential.
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.
Inside, there's sport seats trimmed in faux leather and Alcantara, or proper optional leather seats with contrast stitching.
Chasing something with a little less bling, and a little more race-style? There's still the broader M Performance styling and handling options to choose from, as detailed last month.
BMW Australia has confirmed we should expect to see the new M340i here by the second half of 2019.