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2019+ BMW 3 AND 4-SERIES FORUMS (G2x Generation) General G20 Sedan / G22 Coupe / G26 Gran Coupe Discussions M340i xDrive vs E92 M3 ZCP - An owner comparison

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      09-11-2019, 09:13 PM   #1
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M340i xDrive vs E92 M3 ZCP - An owner comparison

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Background

All right I suppose it's time to give some input on this match up since I'm 1 month and 1000 miles into the M340i xDrive and also own an E92 M3 (for sale!). I owned an E90 ZCP M3 and regretted selling it in 2013, had an M235i xDrive that I absolutely loved but felt it lacked excitement and was a bit on the cheap side. So the itch for another S65 in my life was too much and I picked up my current E92 in early 2018. Since then I moved closer to the mountains and between PNW weather issues, commuter traffic, and terrible roads, I decided to move on to something softer and AWD.

My E92 is a ZCP with M-Performance exhaust, stage 1 tune, DCT tune, Euro MDM, PS4S tires, and stock suspension. It is incredibly rewarding to drive on the freeway and back roads but I personally find it frustrating in traffic and bumpy roads, which is quite a large percentage of my driving. I also find it dated on the interior (although not bad for a 2007 design!) but the exterior is completely timeless IMO.

I ordered the G20 in Tanzanite Blue II over oyster leather with premium and exec pack, adaptive suspension, blind spot monitoring, HK audio, power trunk, spare tire, and PS4S tires wrapped over 792M wheels. No autopilot gizmos for me on this car. I think it looks the absolute business and is to me a massive improvement over the F30 both on the interior and exterior. Quality throughout is very high for this price point. I also found that I actually like the cerium gray trim and badging, especially on this color although the downside is that it waterspots at the drop of a hat. I will not be paying out for black trim pieces. It should be noted though that this is a large car and the 3 series is no longer a small thing. I find it more difficult to park due to size but don't notice this much while driving at speed. The upside here is that interior space is excellent including rear seats that comfortably fit adults with plenty of room.

Driving!

If you've never driven an E92 M3 in anger, you must do this before you die. It is not the fastest or most powerful car but it is an experience like no other when you keep it on boil and know what you're doing. It is an incredibly responsive driver's car that has limits way too high if you want to remain reasonably safe on the street. If I'm not stuck in traffic, I'm usually redlining and pushing the limits at every chance I get. There are a couple of problems though. DCT auto modes either keep revs too low or are clunky in more aggressive settings. So just shift manually then of course. This leads to other clunky issues and generally the DCT is good but not great in daily driving. The car feels great for around town at 3-5k RPMs and becomes a monster at 6k+ RPMs. Never drive below 2k and keep it at 3k most of the time. This car takes work and speed to drive with satisfaction. It also has a very firm, sometimes uncomfortable suspension. It crashes over bumps, potholes, cracks, and road turtles more than I like.

The M340i xDrive is quite the change in driving experience compared to the M3 but it is objectively better in some areas and subjectively better for me in many areas. Overall I feel it is as capable or possibly more capable when it comes to performance on the street. It is not as razor sharp but it is easier and vastly more comfortable to drive at slow speeds and at street limits. Power up to 100 mph absolutely goes to the M340i. Beyond 100 mph is probably a toss up. This thing is a torquey rocket with very minimal lag power that is about as linear you can get in a 3L turbo. What a joy this engine is with the only thing lacking being noise. It's so good I don't really miss the S65. Never thought I would say that.

The 8AT transmission works expertly in any drive mode. I have yet to have a moment that I thought "huh why did it do that, I'm disappointed". The M-performance xDrive experience is very near RWD but with the traction and stability of AWD. Turning on "traction mode" (MDM more or less) allows sideways action if you want it but mostly it just hooks up with my PS4S tires. I can take high speed corners with more confidence and speed than the E92 M3 and it feels nearly as flat. I also can rip off the line in the wet which is something we deal with a lot here. Lane changes and cornering feel darty as they should and while not quite as sharp as the M3, there is very little difference.

Regarding the tech, not much to compare here. The M3 has bluetooth streaming audio which was the big deal 7+ years ago. Nav works but it's dated. Rear parking sensors, yay. So the G20 with all the tech gizmos (I didn't even go for driving assistance functions) is quite a pleasure to use. I especially like the surround view cam with parking assistance options, headlamps with laser light high beams that will blow your mind, M-HUD, and the interface between BMW and CarPlay infotainment. This car has top notch tech for the times.

Complaints?

So what is there to complain about? Well two things have perturbed me although the jury is still out if I would call them annoying yet or not. The steering is leaps and bounds better than the F gen 3 series or 2 series but in sport modes it is overly heavy and somewhat fatiguing. It is accurate and solid but of course lifeless as most EPS seems to be. All in all though it is good steering and not a major complaint. The other issue I've noticed is in selecting drive modes. There used to be a nice rocker switch for comfort-->sport-->sport+ which was tactile and easy to hit blindly. Now we have a flat panel and you have to press the sport button multiple times to cycle through sport, sport individual, and sport+, then a different button for comfort. The drive modes work great but it is tedious accessing changes, especially when you're used to an M button. So there you have it. Two complaints so far.

Conclusion / TLDR

The E92 M3 is a special car to me that I have just outgrown. If I could keep mine as a third/weekend car, I would, but I lack garage space and financials to do that so it's up for sale. The M340i xDrive hits all the boxes of a very fast, capable, and comfortable road car for daily driving duties and I find it a much better vehicle for every day use. For on street performance it is not a downgrade and in some areas it is a performance upgrade compared to the E92. For ease of driving and comfort it is an upgrade of several levels of magnitude over the E92. I know, not a shocker there but for a car that will probably dust an E92 around town and still be this rewarding and comfortable? That's impressive.

I'm sure there is a lot more to talk about with this comparo so let's hear other opinions too. Thanks for reading!
















Last edited by Transfer; 09-12-2019 at 10:46 AM..
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      09-12-2019, 12:54 AM   #2
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Beautiful cars. U forgot to mention, the m3 will hold its value much better.
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      09-12-2019, 05:55 AM   #3
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Nice E92, but I get it. Sometimes you just have to move on. Congrats on your new purchase.
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      09-12-2019, 06:00 AM   #4
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      09-12-2019, 11:30 AM   #5
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Great write up Transfer and I 100% agree with you even-though, I still have not picked up my M340 (at the dealer now).

In Feb of 2010 my E92 ZCP was the very 1st one to deliver to WA State. I completely custom built it and did ED which was an amazing experience on that car. Mine was equipped with a manual transmission which IMO was a mistake.

Once it got to the state side, driving a high revving V8 in Seattle streets was far from enjoyable and I started missing my E92 335. I ended up getting rid of the M3 before hitting the 5K mark after owning it nearly 3 years. I never felt like driving it.

When I test drove the M340 (I went into dealership with full intentions of ordering another 5 series), it immediately reminded me of my M3 but for something designed as to be a super fun daily driver......which is what i was shopping for. Order was placed shortly after and I am looking forward to spending next 3 years with it. My F10 was pretty loaded so, I did order most of the gizmos but non of the self driving stuff and I left the adaptive suspension out. I have also kept the 18" wheels with non-RFTs which I am looking forward to.

Having said all of that, I do miss looking at a beautiful ZCP as a garage queen
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      09-12-2019, 04:00 PM   #6
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I've had 12 BMWs including 5 M cars, and my e92 M3 frozen edition was the best BMW I've ever had, seeing your M3 now just shows what a superb car it was and still is, the engine is to die for.

The G20 looks like it's found wanting in such company.
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      09-12-2019, 04:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post

I also found that I actually like the cerium gray trim and badging, especially on this color although the downside is that it waterspots at the drop of a hat.
What I did was hand polish all spots out with P21S Paintwork Cleanser and then I applied two coats of Sonax Polymer Net Shield. P21S + Sonax have ultimately become my two favorite detailing products over several years of trial and error with other products.

Now water just rolls right off.. and when there is a spot, it comes of super easy because of the Polymer protection. Give it a shot.
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      09-12-2019, 06:21 PM   #8
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Main issue of M340i for me is the xDrive. It really gives worse fuel economy especially if I were to get it as a daily commuter.
We don’t have irregularities on the road that could cause hydroplaning unlike the States so there is literally no need for a heavy AWD..
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      09-14-2019, 01:00 PM   #9
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Nice review, congrats on your new 340. I have 177,500 on my E90 and a 340 will be my next car in the next 2 years. Still love my car and it’s been bulletproof, but I really like the new G20 especially the additional power it will bring!
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      09-16-2019, 02:35 AM   #10
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The E92 still looks beautiful until this day, even with that hideous front plate.

I understand the upgrade though. The tech must feel ancient in comparison.
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      09-18-2019, 01:22 PM   #11
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I completely agree with your review.

I drove these cars back to back (as part of Access by BMW) and your review is spot on. Nine days out of ten I wold be more satisfied with the m340. On that occasion when you are willing to sacrifice some comfort and style to go let out some aggression, the M3 is better. But that's only occasionally.
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      09-18-2019, 01:39 PM   #12
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Congrats on the new M340i and great review.
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      09-18-2019, 01:40 PM   #13
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Personally I'd have e92 M3 Comp in Manual for weekends, I know it's an old car but, that's what makes it simple and perfect, High Revving V8 with proper Exaust and just have a good old fashioned fan.
Then you can have any modern BMW for everyday use.
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      09-18-2019, 01:44 PM   #14
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Both E92 were in excellent shape too sad to see you letting her go.
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      09-18-2019, 02:06 PM   #15
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Great comparison and write up. Thanks for sharing.
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      09-18-2019, 02:20 PM   #16
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Great review and comparison. I have owned all the M3 models (E30, E36, E46, E90, F80 and now the F82). Every single one was a blast to drive and with their own unique personalities, as I am sure your beautiful new car is. Some purists will even say that some of the M's mentioned are not true pure-bloods.
The most important thing is that you enjoy your new car and that it fulfills your needs as an enthusiast. All this bullshit about "watering down the brand" is just that. There is always the puritan who can't go to sleep at night because he knows that someone, somewhere is having a great time.

Congratulations on the new car, mate!
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      09-18-2019, 02:20 PM   #17
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Bad road conditions are just worst nightmares for all performance cars.
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      09-18-2019, 02:32 PM   #18
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Interesting comparison and having owned a E90 M3 myself, I agree that it's not the best around town / a bit clunky.

However, personally I would still have stuck with a M3 given the choice.

Nevertheless, congratulation’s on your new 3er, cracking colour!
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      09-18-2019, 02:39 PM   #19
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The new gen 3 series has been selling extremely well these last 2 months. It looks like this car finally caught on as to how good of a car it is, especially the M340. BMW is certainly on the right track again with the non M 3 series models.
Love the color, if I ever got one tanzanite and oyster would be it, enjoy your car!
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      09-18-2019, 02:45 PM   #20
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Now we need a F80 to G20 comparison!
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      09-18-2019, 03:03 PM   #21
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No replacement for displacement. You'd be looking for another S65 once the everything sinks in. Just keep both
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      09-18-2019, 03:33 PM   #22
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Unless you're in DT Seattle or warehouse district I don't think the roads are terrible. Certainly not bad enough to warrant selling the m3!

Best of luck Judd! I'm sure you'll be back in an m car soon enough
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