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2015 328x
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I'll keep the 328

Numbers mean everything, especially when dissecting automobiles-and BMW's new 340i xDrive is a confusing and sometimes nonsensical number-fest.

First, the nomenclature is all numbers, but both BMW and Mercedes have spent so long tweaking their numbering schemes that nothing adds up like it used to. The 1984 BMW 318i actually had a 1.8-liter engine, but now the 2016 BMW 328i has a 2.0-liter engine. The 1998 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG? A 4.3-liter V8. Mercedes' 2016 C300? Two liters. These manufacturers abandoned the meanings behind those numbers for market positioning, designating a 2.0-liter that performs like a 3.0-liter, for example.

So this year, BMW revamped its 3-series lineup and changed the names again. The former 335i becomes 340i, even though its engine displaces the same 3.0 liters and is still turbocharged. But it generates an additional 20hp (14.9kW), now up to 320hp and 330ft-lb of torque (239kW and 449Nm), while on paper returning 22/33/26 mpg city/highway/combined. We saw 24.4 mpg over the course of our time with the car.

It's still a good engine, right?

FURTHER READING
BMW 3 Series: 40 years old, and still the ultimate driving machine
Since the company's middle name is "motor," you'd expect BMW would get that part of the car right-and it did. Not only is the 340i's engine more powerful than the outgoing turbo inline-six, but it's got grunting low-end torque that hits you immediately no matter what speed the engine is turning. It helps that the automatic transmission (a conventional torque-converter affair) has eight forward speeds-an embarrassment of riches to keep you in the powerband. Manual gear changes can be selected through steering-wheel paddles or the console shifter, but it's almost not worth the effort. Get into anything beyond a walking pace in the 340i and the automatic essentially reads your mind. A six-speed manual is available at no cost for the purists out there, but, sadly, we suspect the manual's days are numbered even for the Ultimate Driving Machine. The percentage of manual takers across the globe today is in the single digits.
For decades, BMW's signature has been the inline-six engine layout, with its inherently smooth, virtually vibration-free operation (up to about 7,500 rpm, that is) and an often-mellifluous song. Sadly, the 340i is now the only 3- or 4-series with a straight six cylinder layout (excepting the M3/M4 variants, of course). All the others use four-cylinder power plants. There's even a three-cylinder base model for thrifty EU buyers. The 340i's motor pulls sweetly to 7,000 rpm in fully automatic mode, though you can twist an additional-but quite meaningless in terms of thrust-400 rpm out of the engine in manual mode.

And then there's the 340i xDrive AWD variant; its numbers say one thing, but it makes us feel something else altogether. Curb weight is a zaftig 3,820 pounds (1,733kg)-heavier than a 1975 Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sedan-but the car is quite light on its feet. More deceptiveness? The thing rockets to 60 mph from a dead stop in just 4.6 seconds. It's genuinely fast.

While the 340i's 3.0-liter six is actually a new design, it's part of a family of modular engines in three-, four-, and six-pot engines, in both gas and diesel versions. And you would never suspect the 3.0-liter iteration has lesser-cylinder siblings; it's as silky and vibration-free as any of BMW's best of the past.

Our test model had the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, a $2,000 assemblage of additional parts and shafts that make the car even more surefooted in winter and bad-weather driving. Few will notice the extra 125 pounds (57kg) or the slightly higher ride height. It's still a fine back-road partner that shrugs off most challenging twisties like it has driven them a hundred times before.

FURTHER READING
Audi's new 2017 A4 is for nerds, by nerds
The current generation 3-series that has been around since 2012 (internally designated "F30") has had some detractors who have thrown accusations of numb steering and suspension at the car. This year BMW has made several changes meant to cure those ills, including new suspension geometry, stiffer front shocks and springs, revised rear shocks, and reprogrammed electrically assisted steering. While we did not have a pre-update car on hand to compare directly, the new model steers, brakes, applies power out of corners and deals with off-camber, unsuitable transitions in a properly BMW-ish fashion. Although it can be somewhat understeer-fixated and dull on-center, due as much to all-wheel drive as basic, smart chassis tuning. BMW also offers a track handling package with even stiffer springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars that turns the 340i itself into a nibbler of M3 heels, should buyers have the urge.
Wait, it costs how much?

And that's an elegant segue to the problem with the 340i xDrive. It's another bout with numbers-this time with a dollar sign ahead of them. Equipped as ours was with packages of Driver Assistance (lane-keeping, blind-spot warning, multiple camera views to assist parking), Technology (including navigation, head-up display, and some semi-useless BMW apps), and normal options like leather, the total financial commitment reaches $60,000; $59,920 to be precise. This, for what was once BMW's entry-level nameplate.

Granted, it's not entry-level anymore, but at $60,000, which is 5-series and E-class money, the 340i xDrive had better be brilliant beyond measure. And it's not. Very good? Yes. Excellent? Borderline. Indeed, it does the job it is supposed to do: offers acceleration, driving fun, and connectedness to the road that most purists will enjoy; provides room adequate for four adults; and does all of the above with a reasonable consumption of the Earth's resources. But $60,000 for a non-M 3-series is, well, sobering. A 328i with its overachieving, 240hp four-cylinder engine and the same exact options might develop only three-quarters the power on paper, but it's also $10,000 less. Exercise caution with the option list and it could be even cheaper.

Is the 340i xDrive better than anything else in its class? With the aforementioned competitors nipping at the former standard-bearer's heels, it very well may still be, but only by the slimmest of margins.

http://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/08/bmws-2017-340i-xdrive-fast-fun-and-overpriced/

Listing image by Jim Resnick
Who knows, I will also look at the 2107 Ford Focus RS
 

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I just went through the car buying process and I drove the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, BMW 328 and 340, and Infiniti Q50. The Infiniti and the Audi were loaded with technology. The Mercedes had a stunning interior. Coming out of a car that had 300+ hp the 328, Q50, A4, and C-class all felt underpowered to me. The A4's transmission probably did the best job of fooling me into thinking it had more power than it did. The Infiniti had lots of hp and bells & whistles but it felt big and bloated. The 340 on the other hand was an absolute joy to drive. It didn't seem as loaded with technology as the A4 or Q50 but it had enough and the driving experience was so head and shoulders above all the other cars that I really didn't care.

You can read every review written, but to truly know the car you have to sit in the driver's seat.
 

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http://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/08/bmws-2017-340i-xdrive-fast-fun-and-overpriced/

Numbers mean everything... A 328i with its overachieving, 240hp four-cylinder engine and the same exact options might develop only three-quarters the power on paper, but it's also $10,000 less.
With the same exact options 328/330 is about $3K less than 340. $2,825 for the configuration below, for example.

RWD
Metallic Paint
Leather
Cold Weather Package
Driver Assistance Package
M Sport Package
Technology Package

Will be about $30 per month if you lease. Add $20 per month for gas and $20 for insurance. $70 per month seems to be a very reasonable premium for a significantly more powerful engine. From my experience the 340 is somewhat front heavy when compared to 328, though.
 

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I just went through the car buying process and I drove the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, BMW 328 and 340, and Infiniti Q50. The Infiniti and the Audi were loaded with technology. The Mercedes had a stunning interior. Coming out of a car that had 300+ hp the 328, Q50, A4, and C-class all felt underpowered to me. The A4's transmission probably did the best job of fooling me into thinking it had more power than it did. The Infiniti had lots of hp and bells & whistles but it felt big and bloated. The 340 on the other hand was an absolute joy to drive. It didn't seem as loaded with technology as the A4 or Q50 but it had enough and the driving experience was so head and shoulders above all the other cars that I really didn't care.

You can read every review written, but to truly know the car you have to sit in the driver's seat.
Was Q50 the Red Sport model? RS should be at least as powerful as 340.
 

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The 1983 BMW 320i also had a 1.8 liter engine. The 1984 325e and 528e both had a 2.7 liter engine.

The 1984 BMW 318i actually had a 1.8-liter engine, but now the 2016 BMW 328i has a 2.0-liter engine.
 

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Ah but the 1998 520i did have 2 liters. Soda can in line 6, great engine, underpowered for the car but a great engine.
I was referring to US models above. I believe the European counterparts were named differently at the time.
 

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I just went through the car buying process and I drove the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, BMW 328 and 340, and Infiniti Q50. The Infiniti and the Audi were loaded with technology. The Mercedes had a stunning interior. Coming out of a car that had 300+ hp the 328, Q50, A4, and C-class all felt underpowered to me. The A4's transmission probably did the best job of fooling me into thinking it had more power than it did. The Infiniti had lots of hp and bells & whistles but it felt big and bloated. The 340 on the other hand was an absolute joy to drive. It didn't seem as loaded with technology as the A4 or Q50 but it had enough and the driving experience was so head and shoulders above all the other cars that I really didn't care.

You can read every review written, but to truly know the car you have to sit in the driver's seat.
Any reason you skipped the IS350 and the Jaguar XE?
 

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Granted, it's not entry-level anymore, but at $60,000, which is 5-series and E-class money.

But $60,000 for a non-M 3-series is, well, sobering.
I suspect he hasn't looked at the price of a 5er or an M3 lately. :yikes:
 

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I was referring to US models above. I believe the European counterparts were named differently at the time.
You are probably right. I just wanted to joke about the fact that some models actually had some relation to the name, and i find the concept of a 2l I6 rediculous, if you think about it they are tiny. But I loved driving that car. 4.5K rpm in top gear doing 80 with the AC on but very sweet little motor.
 

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Was Q50 the Red Sport model? RS should be at least as powerful as 340.
The Q50 RS makes 400hp.

I was coming out of a G35x and at my last service appointment they gave me a Q50 with the 3.7L engine as the loaner. IIRC that car makes a very similar hp number to the 340 and I had it for almost two days. So it was like an extended test drive. It was definitely a big improvement over my G35x but not as fun to drive as the 340 (IMO) and felt like a much heavier car. The material quality in the interior feels cheaper than the BMW as well.

Just to wrap up the subject . . . I wasn't originally considering a BMW at all (I didn't realize how much bigger the car had become recently) so at that point the Q50 was my top choice. When I went to shop the car, I discovered that they were revamping the engine line up. The hybrid which still had the 3.7L engine in it was almost impossible to find and the RS was equally hard to come by. The only car that was on anyone's lot was the 2.0t which makes about 200hp - definitely not enough for me. Looking at the new engine lineup, I would have gone with the 3.0t which makes a little more than 300hp. However, I was told at the dealership that this engine wouldn't be available until the end of the summer and I'm sure they would have been hard to come by or at least hard to get a reasonable deal on for months after that.

Any reason you skipped the IS350 and the Jaguar XE?
Sorry. I actually shopped the Jaguar XE as well. I accidentally left that out. The engine on the Jag was absolutely a thing of beauty. Plenty of power and I loved listening to the supercharger. I found the suspension to be a bit soft compared to the BMW and the dial to select the gears was absolutely stupid and I hated it. The interior of the car was incredibly cheap and boring looking. The software for their infotainment system looked like a high school kid wrote it in his garage. The exterior was incredibly plain and uninspiring.

I didn't look at the Lexus IS as I believe it's a significantly smaller car than any of the others I shopped. I'm often driving people around in my car and I need to have a reasonable size back seat.
 

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Granted, it's not entry-level anymore, but at $60,000, which is 5-series and E-class money
It's really not, though, unless you go completely out of your way to spec one of those as cheaply as you possibly can and get a car you wouldn't want.

I was griping myself the other day because I bought an E53 X5 brand new in 2001 for $54,000. A guy pointed me to an inflation calculator and showed me that $54,000 in 2001 is $73,404 today. Truly, you can get a 6 cylinder 2016 X5 for much less than that, and it will have way more tech and safety kit than my 2001 did, plus hit 0-60 almost 2 seconds faster.
 

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2015 328x
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Discussion Starter #13
I just went through the car buying process and I drove the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, BMW 328 and 340, and Infiniti Q50. The Infiniti and the Audi were loaded with technology. The Mercedes had a stunning interior. Coming out of a car that had 300+ hp the 328, Q50, A4, and C-class all felt underpowered to me. The A4's transmission probably did the best job of fooling me into thinking it had more power than it did. The Infiniti had lots of hp and bells & whistles but it felt big and bloated. The 340 on the other hand was an absolute joy to drive. It didn't seem as loaded with technology as the A4 or Q50 but it had enough and the driving experience was so head and shoulders above all the other cars that I really didn't care.

You can read every review written, but to truly know the car you have to sit in the driver's seat.
:thumbup:
 

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If the budget allowed, I would go with a 340i all day long.
 

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I believe BMW's pricing strategy regarding its six-cylinder models in the 3 Series and 5 Series is designed to steer customers to the four-cylinder models, most likely driven by CAFE concerns. Four years ago a BMW salesman told me BMW expects four-cylinder models to reach 60 percent of its sales.
 

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Probably correct, however I'm surprised how narrow the price delta is for the F30 - about $3.5k last I checked for a comparably equipped car.

I believe BMW's pricing strategy regarding its six-cylinder models in the 3 Series and 5 Series is designed to steer customers to the four-cylinder models, most likely driven by CAFE concerns. Four years ago a BMW salesman told me BMW expects four-cylinder models to reach 60 percent of its sales.
 

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Eye of the Wolf
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.......
Granted, it's not entry-level anymore, but at $60,000, which is 5-series and E-class money, the 340i xDrive had better be brilliant beyond measure. And it's not. Very good? Yes. Excellent? Borderline. Indeed, it does the job it is supposed to do: offers acceleration, driving fun, and connectedness to the road that most purists will enjoy; provides room adequate for four adults; and does all of the above with a reasonable consumption of the Earth's resources. But $60,000 for a non-M 3-series is, well, sobering.....
I suspect he hasn't looked at the price of a 5er or an M3 lately. :yikes:
+1 Brave New World
 

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Probably correct, however I'm surprised how narrow the price delta is for the F30 - about $3.5k last I checked for a comparably equipped car.
You are correct and this is why I would always opt for the biggest engine 3 series when buying. The lower engine model does not save enough money to be worth it IMHO. If you lease, we are talking maybe 50 bucks a month more for the bigger engine. An enthusiast will pay that without thinking twice, a person buying for the badge probably will not.
 

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I believe BMW's pricing strategy regarding its six-cylinder models in the 3 Series and 5 Series is designed to steer customers to the four-cylinder models, most likely driven by CAFE concerns. Four years ago a BMW salesman told me BMW expects four-cylinder models to reach 60 percent of its sales.
I think that BMW realizes that most of the BMW buyers today are buying for the badge and not performance....that reality means the buyer picks the cheapest car within the class. This is also the buyer who can't see the difference between a 320i and a 340i.....or to put it the way a random stranger did to me:

"What kind of car is that, I like it?"
"M4"
"Oh my friend has a 428...it is the same car"
"No, it is not (and I explain why they are different)"
"How much do those cost?"
"They go for 75k-85k"
"Why would someone pay that much money for a 4, you can get a 6 for that"
I quit talking at this point as anything I said would be lost on this guy and he just does not get it.
 
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