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The 2023 BMW M340i splits the difference between the standard-issue 3 Series and the venerable M3. At first, I was confused about why it exists, considering the “M” designation before the “340i” typically refers to an M-style appearance package, but I was wrong. The M340i does an excellent job of serving up a lot of driving performance without feeling like a street-worthy race car. But it also has plenty more to offer, including blinkers.

2023 BMW M340i front corner view
2023 BMW M340i | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 BMW M340i is like an “M3 lite”

2023 BMW M340i engine
2023 BMW M340i | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

There’s no denying that the BMW M3 is one of the best sports sedans for the money, but let’s face it, most drivers don’t need that much power. Under the hood of the M3 is a 473-hp, twin-turbo inline-six engine, which will rocket the car up to 60 mph from a stop in only 3.4 seconds. But who really needs to get onto the freeway that quickly?

The 2023 BMW M340i, on the other hand, makes a more reasonable 382 hp from its turbocharged inline-six engine. It has a reduction in power over its bigger M3 sibling, but that’s enough to scoot the car to freeway speeds in 4.1 seconds.

That number may not mean much to most drivers, but the M340i’s power output is staggering in the real world. The engine responds quickly when flooring the gas pedal, and I didn’t detect very much lag in the powerband. The power shoves you back in your seat, but it’s easy to control.

Some of that quick acceleration is thanks to a 48-volt hybrid battery pack connected to the powertrain, but it’s mainly there to make the automatic starts and stops a little more seamless. That, it does. But I’m still not a fan of auto-stop/start features.

The rest of the car’s driving dynamics are as tight as a drum. BMW really dials in the “ultimate driving machine” ethos into all of its cars, and the M340i is no exception. The car responds quickly to all of the driver’s inputs, especially when driving the car spiritedly through tight canyon roads.

I’ll admit that the car does feel a little stiff for my liking when cruising around normally, but that taught suspension leads to razor-sharp turning and impressive handling at speed. The car even darts quickly during lane changes, which are preceded by the use of the provided turn signal. I know, it’s a weird concept, right?

The BMW M340i is filled with plenty of tech and safety features, but it’s missing a few things

2023 BMW M340i front interior
2023 BMW M340i | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

During my spent with the BMW M340i, I loved all of the technology it had to offer. BMW updated the 3 Series line with its iDrive 8 infotainment operating system. The system runs on a 14.9-inch curved display that’s connected to a 12.3-inch driver information screen. Don’t worry; unlike iDrive interfaces from the past, this new system is easy to use and is intuitive.

You can even say, “Hey, BMW,” to prompt the system for voice commands if you don’t want to fiddle with anything while driving. My test car came with a bevy of other convenience features as well. Some of them included a heated steering wheel/front seats, parking sensors, and a surround-view 3D camera.

My only gripe is that the rearview camera looked dim at nighttime, and the car lacked driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control and lane assist. I found that out the hard way when I set the cruise control on the highway, only to realize that I was approaching the car in front of me at a quick pace. Luckily, I slowed down in time.

Apparently, BMW only offers adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist features as part of the Driver Assistance Professional package ($1,700), which my tester did not have. That’s unfortunate, considering the base-model Honda Civic comes with it.

Otherwise, the BMW M340i comes with many of the bells and whistles that most drivers need in their daily routines. The only caveat is that to get a lot of the features, like heated seats, parking aids, and a lane-departure warning, three different option packages must be selected.

It’s clear that the BMW M340i is a true drivers car

2023 BMW M340i rear end close up
2023 BMW M340i | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Ultimately, in my time behind the wheel of the 2023 BMW M340i, I realized that it’s a true driver’s car. No, it’s not as fast as an M3, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead, it has the sporty driving characteristics and features you would expect from the German automaker but at a lower price point.

The base price for the BMW M340i xDrive is $56,850. But all of the option packages included brought my test car’s price up to $67,170. That’s still nearly $10,000 less than a base M3, making the M340i a performance bargain. You can even get a lot of the same interior features as the M3. Fortunately, the turn signals are standard.