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2019+ BMW 3 AND 4-SERIES FORUMS (G2x Generation) General G20 Sedan / G22 Coupe / G26 Gran Coupe Discussions M340i one week impressions! (from 7 year E90 335i owner)

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      04-07-2020, 09:55 PM   #1
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M340i one week impressions! (from 7 year E90 335i owner)

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I've finally got some proper seat time in my new M340i RWD and have some driving impressions and comparisons to the E90 335i I drove for the last 7 years. Also my amateur pics, with some "artistry" thrown in


Speeeeeeeed!

Whoa Nelly. I said it before and it becomes more obvious every single time I go out. This thing is FAST! The engine, in full Sports Plus transmission mode shifts way faster and harder than a pure H-pattern manual. It's honestly not just the 380 HP engine that makes it so much faster, it's the additive effect of the power and the engine combined. I need to find some quieter roads and try out Launch Control

The B58 is a beautifully balanced engine, it's got great sound, very smooth when you want it to be and very aggressive otherwise. BMW has long had Jekyll and Hyde cars, this one redefines the balance between the two. Quiet comfortable cruising, flick a switch, complete monstrous animal. Love it!

Now, the E90 N55 wasn't slow but this is in a different league. Obvious win for the 12 year younger car here!


Weight Balance and Cornering

BMW hit a very sweet spot here in that despite the car being about 250 lbs heavier than my E90, it feels just about as sharp to drive. In a funny way, the electric steering does much to disguise the mass of the car. Much as in my previous car, I can feel the confidence of the chassis when cornering, however unlike the E90 I have to trust the car more.

It becomes a game of guessing what the engineers had in mind and trusting that the car can do what you are asking of it. It definitely feels like something is missing (where something is of course some genuine steering feel. I am very curious to hear from the folk who have only driven F-series electric racks, if there is a big difference in the G20?


Feel and Traction

The E90 has steering feel. The G20 doesn't. The end?

Not quite. I'm gonna beg the diversion here and discuss my wife's 2014 Mazda3 steering.

The electric rack in that car is fairly stiff on center and linearly decreases the deeper into a turn you get (the opposite of hydraulic steering). As a front drive car, this leads to a moments in sharp cornering where the car is able to rapidly turn with a flick of the wheel, helped of course by the lightness of the chassis. Even though inverted, this helps tremendously in controlling the nose of the car.

The M340i doesn't have much of this. There seems to be some, but not enough to keep it in Sport steering. All it seems to do is make the steering artificially heavier without the benefits of increased feel the deeper into a turn you go. I found however, in Comfort steering, it seems to have a tinier bit more feedback. I have no canyons around me so my opportunities for proper cornering are limited, but this is an area I will be exploring further.

By contrast, no witchcraft, no thinking, no searching for feel is needed in the E90. It has it in spades. Driving the E90 almost felt like you could do it blindfolded, you could sense the position of the front wheels by the steering feel, you could feel the power through your toes on the accelerator, and modulate the brakes the same way. Your ass in the seat could tell which way the chassis was flexing!

The G20, much like the F30 and F36 I've driven briefly before, doesn't talk to you with all of these sensations. The closest analogs I have found are the chassis flex and the sensitive accelerator in Sports Plus. Both of these are very intuitive and really help this department along. I feel I will need to learn to "read" the M340i more over time.

I haven't had too much experiences with the M-differential but I can feel it working simply from just how much more traction this car has than the E90. It hangs on very well even while putting down 80 more HP than the 335i. It will still swing the tail on corner exit if you hammer the throttle, but you have to provoke it. I'm really looking forward to playing with this (and seeing the benefit in winter will be a bonus!)


Tech and Preferences

I found that the Reduced Mode on the digital cluster plus putting speed, tach, and Sports Display (with shift lights!) on the HUD hugely helps with the constant information overload from the cluster! In this mode, you have Speed on left, and RPM as a dim line on the left. I left the map on in the middle because it actually serves a good purpose here without being overloaded by the rest. Still no substitute for a true analog dash, but much more bearable.

The seats took a few days and now they are fitting me like a glove. Very happy with them!

For those of you with ancient sound solutions. I had an iPod 6th gen video connected to a BMW adapter in the old car, worked flawlessly. Did not work in this car and had no end of frustration using a phone via Bluetooth audio or a USB drive.

I cracked it eventually. I was able to successfully clone my iTunes music library and all playlists and sync to a 128 GB or less USB drive formatted as exFAT. I used iTunesFusion to sync to the USB, and made sure to place all playlists at the root of the device and remove leading backslashes from the list. It works like a dream now! I have the non-HK system and I am completely satisfied with it (but I am also not an audiophile).

That will do for this round, I'll report back in a month!

Now.... who wants some pictures?!

















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      04-08-2020, 07:16 AM   #2
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Great review!
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      04-08-2020, 08:27 AM   #3
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Also share your thoughts on tech, material, luxury etc. when you get the chance, Enjoy the new car, looks great!

Although I haven't got mine yet, I was pleasantly surprised during my test drives. 3 feels like a 5 in terms of luxury, and a 5 almost feels like a 7. Both in terms of size, luxury, and tech.

Cars really improved a lot in the last decade on this aspect.obviously, not everyone is a huge fan of the size but I like the size of the 3 as I might sometimes use it with my family as well.
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      04-08-2020, 11:22 AM   #4
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Awesome review!
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      04-08-2020, 01:10 PM   #5
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I actually came to see this post for your E90 pics due to nostalgia.

Lol.
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      04-08-2020, 01:23 PM   #6
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nice write up
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      04-08-2020, 01:31 PM   #7
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Another win for the e90 (at least that's how I'm taking it lol)
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      04-08-2020, 01:43 PM   #8
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Great and accurate review! I've had my M340 X-Drive since last June. So, coming up on a year. I drove, and still have, a 2015 428 GC before my 3 series. Close, but kind of like comparing apples to oranges. 240HP 4 cylinder doesn't come close in comparison to the B58.

The weather finally broke in Chicagoland and I put a set of Pilot Sport 4S's on for the summer. I am even more in love with this car!
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      04-08-2020, 02:01 PM   #9
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Almost the same car I agree it is fast
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      04-08-2020, 02:02 PM   #10
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E90 is hard to beat. In a lot of ways I prefer my old 328 to my f30 335. Drove the m340 and it was stupid fast but it didn't do it for me. I have an e36 m3 so compared to that everything feels heavy and bloated. Nice review tho hope you enjoy the car!
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      04-08-2020, 02:08 PM   #11
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Congrats again. This is a very fair and balanced review.

The G20 is certainly a great car but for those of us used to the E-chassis models, it just leaves something to be desired. It has its own redeeming qualities though, enjoy it.
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      04-08-2020, 02:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kr0m3assass1n View Post
I actually came to see this post for your E90 pics due to nostalgia.

Lol.
haha I wanted to see the E90 pics as well!

OP: Its funny you mentioned that the steering feels better in non sport mode.

Doing M Track days as well as the M school they always have the sport steering turned off. We were tracking F80s and the new G90s.

Basically they say it gives no more feel, is heavier, and actually overtaxes the car.

So you are probably on to something leaving it off.
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      04-08-2020, 03:38 PM   #13
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Excellent review

Excellent review - from a regular enthusiast. Enjoy your new Bimmer
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      04-08-2020, 03:56 PM   #14
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I got to drive the new 340i on a autox for 3 laps. I have to say the e90 has better suspension and chasis feel. The steering is much more better and my girlfreind even noted that the g20 has more body roll than my e90 LOL. My freinds even said that the e90 feels more in tune for autox but the blistering speed of the B series engine is crazy. It has similar accelration feel to a m4 competition but more smoother.
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      04-08-2020, 03:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Staszek View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kr0m3assass1n View Post
I actually came to see this post for your E90 pics due to nostalgia.

Lol.
haha I wanted to see the E90 pics as well!

OP: Its funny you mentioned that the steering feels better in non sport mode.

Doing M Track days as well as the M school they always have the sport steering turned off. We were tracking F80s and the new G90s.

Basically they say it gives no more feel, is heavier, and actually overtaxes the car.

So you are probably on to something leaving it off.
I find that in M cars especially that comfort is always the best mode. None of them have brimming feedback () but, as you go up the modes the heft increases but it doesn't feel natural in its build/progression. Comfort essentially feels the most normal, and sport plus feels synthetic.
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      04-08-2020, 04:12 PM   #16
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This is great, thank you for sharing!
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      04-08-2020, 04:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -EndOfAnEra- View Post
I've finally got some proper seat time in my new M340i RWD and have some driving impressions and comparisons to the E90 335i I drove for the last 7 years. Also my amateur pics, with some "artistry" thrown in


[size="3"]Speeeeeeeed![/size]

Whoa Nelly. I said it before and it becomes more obvious every single time I go out. This thing is FAST! The engine, in full Sports Plus transmission mode shifts way faster and harder than a pure H-pattern manual. It's honestly not just the 380 HP engine that makes it so much faster, it's the additive effect of the power and the engine combined. I need to find some quieter roads and try out Launch Control

The B58 is a beautifully balanced engine, it's got great sound, very smooth when you want it to be and very aggressive otherwise. BMW has long had Jekyll and Hyde cars, this one redefines the balance between the two. Quiet comfortable cruising, flick a switch, complete monstrous animal. Love it!

Now, the E90 N55 wasn't slow but this is in a different league. Obvious win for the 12 year younger car here!


[size="3"]Weight Balance and Cornering[/size]

BMW hit a very sweet spot here in that despite the car being about 250 lbs heavier than my E90, it feels just about as sharp to drive. In a funny way, the electric steering does much to disguise the mass of the car. Much as in my previous car, I can feel the confidence of the chassis when cornering, however unlike the E90 I have to trust the car more.

It becomes a game of guessing what the engineers had in mind and trusting that the car can do what you are asking of it. It definitely feels like something is missing (where something is of course some genuine steering feel. I am very curious to hear from the folk who have only driven F-series electric racks, if there is a big difference in the G20?


[size="3"]Feel and Traction[/size]

The E90 has steering feel. The G20 doesn't. The end?

Not quite. I'm gonna beg the diversion here and discuss my wife's 2014 Mazda3 steering.

The electric rack in that car is fairly stiff on center and linearly decreases the deeper into a turn you get (the opposite of hydraulic steering). As a front drive car, this leads to a moments in sharp cornering where the car is able to rapidly turn with a flick of the wheel, helped of course by the lightness of the chassis. Even though inverted, this helps tremendously in controlling the nose of the car.

The M340i doesn't have much of this. There seems to be some, but not enough to keep it in Sport steering. All it seems to do is make the steering artificially heavier without the benefits of increased feel the deeper into a turn you go. I found however, in Comfort steering, it seems to have a tinier bit more feedback. I have no canyons around me so my opportunities for proper cornering are limited, but this is an area I will be exploring further.

By contrast, no witchcraft, no thinking, no searching for feel is needed in the E90. It has it in spades. Driving the E90 almost felt like you could do it blindfolded, you could sense the position of the front wheels by the steering feel, you could feel the power through your toes on the accelerator, and modulate the brakes the same way. Your ass in the seat could tell which way the chassis was flexing!

The G20, much like the F30 and F36 I've driven briefly before, doesn't talk to you with all of these sensations. The closest analogs I have found are the chassis flex and the sensitive accelerator in Sports Plus. Both of these are very intuitive and really help this department along. I feel I will need to learn to "read" the M340i more over time.

I haven't had too much experiences with the M-differential but I can feel it working simply from just how much more traction this car has than the E90. It hangs on very well even while putting down 80 more HP than the 335i. It will still swing the tail on corner exit if you hammer the throttle, but you have to provoke it. I'm really looking forward to playing with this (and seeing the benefit in winter will be a bonus!)


[size="3"]Tech and Preferences[/size]

I found that the Reduced Mode on the digital cluster plus putting speed, tach, and Sports Display (with shift lights!) on the HUD hugely helps with the constant information overload from the cluster! In this mode, you have Speed on left, and RPM as a dim line on the left. I left the map on in the middle because it actually serves a good purpose here without being overloaded by the rest. Still no substitute for a true analog dash, but much more bearable.

The seats took a few days and now they are fitting me like a glove. Very happy with them!

For those of you with ancient sound solutions. I had an iPod 6th gen video connected to a BMW adapter in the old car, worked flawlessly. Did not work in this car and had no end of frustration using a phone via Bluetooth audio or a USB drive.

I cracked it eventually. I was able to successfully clone my iTunes music library and all playlists and sync to a 128 GB or less USB drive formatted as exFAT. I used iTunesFusion to sync to the USB, and made sure to place all playlists at the root of the device and remove leading backslashes from the list. It works like a dream now! I have the non-HK system and I am completely satisfied with it (but I am also not an audiophile).

That will do for this round, I'll report back in a month!

Now.... who wants some pictures?!

















Are those the grills that many people complains about??
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      04-08-2020, 05:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kr0m3assass1n View Post
I actually came to see this post for your E90 pics due to nostalgia.

Lol.
I miss my manual e92 but OP's car looks nice! Have fun!
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      04-08-2020, 05:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmitz View Post
Another win for the e90 (at least that's how I'm taking it lol)
Can't relate to E90, only the E46 but appreciates OP's input regardless.
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      04-08-2020, 05:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorkyg View Post
Also share your thoughts on tech, material, luxury etc. when you get the chance, Enjoy the new car, looks great!

Although I haven't got mine yet, I was pleasantly surprised during my test drives. 3 feels like a 5 in terms of luxury, and a 5 almost feels like a 7. Both in terms of size, luxury, and tech.

Cars really improved a lot in the last decade on this aspect.obviously, not everyone is a huge fan of the size but I like the size of the 3 as I might sometimes use it with my family as well.
Thanks! The size is definitely as large as I'd like it to be for a fun car, but for a family car it's perfect. For more tech and feature thoughts, please see my delivery thread here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hubbahubba View Post
Awesome review!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kr0m3assass1n View Post
I actually came to see this post for your E90 pics due to nostalgia.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Staszek View Post
haha I wanted to see the E90 pics as well!
Well why didn't ya say so? I have BOATLOADS of those!








Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmitz View Post
Another win for the e90 (at least that's how I'm taking it lol)
For now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzy4GC View Post
Great and accurate review! I've had my M340 X-Drive since last June. So, coming up on a year. I drove, and still have, a 2015 428 GC before my 3 series. Close, but kind of like comparing apples to oranges. 240HP 4 cylinder doesn't come close in comparison to the B58.

The weather finally broke in Chicagoland and I put a set of Pilot Sport 4S's on for the summer. I am even more in love with this car!
Awesome, thanks! You'll enjoy those, I know I'm enjoying mine!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddien123 View Post
E90 is hard to beat. In a lot of ways I prefer my old 328 to my f30 335. Drove the m340 and it was stupid fast but it didn't do it for me. I have an e36 m3 so compared to that everything feels heavy and bloated. Nice review tho hope you enjoy the car!
It's a key question for me. Even towards the end with the E90 I found myself asking if it would be better with less power and more responsiveness. It's one of the reasons the Mazda my wife has is genuinely fun to drive. But that power... is intoxicating!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuastein55 View Post
I find that in M cars especially that comfort is always the best mode. None of them have brimming feedback () but, as you go up the modes the heft increases but it doesn't feel natural in its build/progression. Comfort essentially feels the most normal, and sport plus feels synthetic.
I'd heard that too, but I'm not touching the "is it a proper M car" dialogue with a thirty-foot pole!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlejoEvo View Post
Are those the grills that many people complains about??
Why yes, yes they are! I'm keeping the cerium as long as I can stand it because it just looks RIGHT on a Black Sapphire G20 to me. If I change, it will be for a black frame with the bright diamonds as some have done. I love the contrast!
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      04-08-2020, 06:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -EndOfAnEra- View Post
keeping the cerium as long as I can stand it because it just looks RIGHT on a Black Sapphire G20 to me. If I change, it will be for a black frame with the bright diamonds as some have done. I love the contrast!
You'll probably be changing them after the Spring season comes and goes. Cerium Gray grills look great when clean, but once the rain hits and they dry up, you get water marks everywhere, and because its a matte finish it requires a different cleaning process.
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      04-08-2020, 06:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuastein55 View Post
You'll probably be changing them after the Spring season comes and goes. Cerium Gray grills look great when clean, but once the rain hits and they dry up, you get water marks everywhere, and because its a matte finish it requires a different cleaning process.
I swapped mine to black but when I did have them they were ceramic coated and never had any water marks. Always stayed clean!
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