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      02-03-2021, 08:43 AM   #1
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M340i and M8 Competition Featured in C/D's Lightning Lap 2021

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M340i

Quote:
Originally Posted by C/D
Lap Time: 3:03.2
Class: LL2 | Base: $57,195 | As Tested: $64,545
Power and Weight: 382 hp • 3792 lb • 9.9 lb/hp
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, F: 225/40R-19 93Y ★ R: 255/35R-19 96Y ★

Years of testing BMW's 3- and 4-series allow us to measure the pace of evolution through generational comparison. For example, the M340i arrives at the Turn 1 braking zone traveling 142.3 mph, a mere 2.4 mph shy of the 425-hp 2015 BMW M4's speed. And the M340i's 3:03.2 lap is 10.0 seconds quicker than that of the last-gen 2012 BMW 335i Sport Line and just 2.5 seconds off the M4's time.

The M4's 43-hp advantage over the M340i helps it pull away on VIR's foot-to-the-floor sections, but the lesser Bimmer's 382-hp turbocharged inline-six charges relentlessly to redline and never exhibits a bad vibe or any perform*ance degradation during hot laps. Its sidekick, the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, upshifts and downshifts as if it had the VIR track map programmed into its brain.

In the slower sections, the M340i's grip and handling allow it to keep up with the full-blooded M car, but its steering feels disconnected. Responses to inputs are often nonlinear—with the car steering too much or too little—and that unpredictability makes turning in and holding the line trickier than it should be.

The chassis takes aggression in stride. Pound over the curbing and the adaptive dampers forgive your transgressions. The rear tires squeal with excitement during corner exits, but with some help from the electronically controlled limited-slip differential, the car's torque is masterfully orchestrated into acceleration. VIR's many big slowdown events transform a once firm brake pedal into mush and leave the wheels looking like they were just pulled from a campfire. Despite the long pedal, the brakes still haul down the M340i from speed with unerring reliability.

Progress has the M340i closing in on the old M4's lap time. The new M3 and M4 should widen the gap, but we're hoping BMW does a better job with the steering in its upcoming M cars than it did in the M340i.
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M8 Competition

Quote:
Originally Posted by C/D
Lap Time: 2:55.5
Class: LL4 | Base: $156,145 | As Tested: $175,745
Power and Weight: 617 hp • 4224 lb • 6.8 lb/hp
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, F: 275/35ZR-20 (102Y) ★ R: 285/35ZR-20 (104Y) ★

Social media rarely gets anything this right. Back in 2018, the snarkier corners of the internet began calling BMW's new Le Mans racer Big M8 when they noticed the M8 GTE dwarfed the Ford GT on track. That turns out to be a fitting nickname for the road car, too. The BMW M8 Competition both drives large and delivers massive performance for a vehicle that's as much a luxury cruiser as it is a sports car. It is 121 pounds heavier and more than a foot longer than the Jaguar F-type R, but it doesn't feel any more unwieldy. The 4224-pound marauder laps with the stoicism of an Easter Island Moai. It cuts into corners quickly and then sticks to its path with unflappable poise. The M8 has so much midcorner stability that it borders on inert.

The 617-hp V-8 can't be caught in a lull because it makes power everywhere in the rev range. All that thrust makes it easy to come off VIR's straights at heady speeds. Of all the cars at this year's running, only the McLaren, 911 Turbo S, and Shelby GT500 carry a higher speed into the uphill esses than the M8's 140.1 mph.

Porsche's Taycan—a car that literally weighs half a ton more—nips the BMW by 0.3 second. We attribute that to the EV's low center of gravity and handling magic. The Taycan overtakes the Bimmer in the Climbing Esses, exiting 5.4 mph faster, and then squeezes ahead on the squiggly back half of the circuit.

We are also obligated to point out that last year's BMW M5 Competition ran 1.5 seconds quicker than the M8 despite having a nearly identical spec sheet. Blame the weather or the car or the driver or the spicy chicken wings that driver ate the night before day three. Or just consider this the margin of variability between two different vehicles driven by two different drivers a year apart.
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Full Lightening Lap 2021 Article: Lightening Lap 2021

Full Results:
18) Toyota Supra 2.0 - 3:09.0
17) Cadillac CT4-V - 3:06.2
16) Ford Mustang 2.3L - 3:04.4
15) Cadillac CT5-V - 3:04.1
14) Mini Cooper Works GP - 3:03.8
13) Subaru STI - 3:03.4
12) BMW M340i - 3:03.2
11) Toyota Supra 3.0 - 2:59.3
10) Jaguar F-type R - 2:59.5
9) Mercedes AMG CLA45 - 2:58.2
8) BMW M8 Competition - 2:55.5
7) Porsche Taycan Turbo S - 2:55.2
6) Porsche 718 GT4 - 2:50.3
5) Chevy Corvette Z51 - 2:49.0
4) Lamborghini Huracan Evo - 2:45.0
3) Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 - 2:44.6
2) Porsche 911 Turbo S - 2:42.5
1) Mclaren 765LT - 2:38.4

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      02-03-2021, 11:11 AM   #2
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The 992 Turbo S is super impressive! Can't even imagine what 992 GT3 RS will do.
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      02-03-2021, 11:13 AM   #3
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And that CLA45 is a real sleeper. Too bad they didn't test the A45s - would love to have one.
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      02-03-2021, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexFL View Post
And that CLA45 is a real sleeper. Too bad they didn't test the A45s - would love to have one.
Yeah that's pretty good for the non "S" to beat out the M340i and get into the top 10.
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      02-03-2021, 11:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Yeah that's pretty good for the non "S" to beat out the M340i and get into the top 10.
Also a bit sad they didn't have any Audi for comparison. Would love to see what RS5/RS7 would do.
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      02-03-2021, 11:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexFL View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Yeah that's pretty good for the non "S" to beat out the M340i and get into the top 10.
Also a bit sad they didn't have any Audi for comparison. Would love to see what RS5/RS7 would do.
RS5 was tested in 2018.

https://www.caranddriver.com/feature...ning-lap-2018/
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      02-03-2021, 11:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
In fairness, it wasn't the same track conditions (apples to apples) or drivers most likely.
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      02-03-2021, 11:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
In fairness, it wasn't the same track conditions (apples to apples) or drivers most likely.
It never is, but still a fair showing of its potential.
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      02-03-2021, 11:58 AM   #9
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Interesting. The M8 obv is a rocket, but M340i continues to impress, love it!
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      02-03-2021, 12:20 PM   #10
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Impressed with the Benz. Great looking car with performance to boot...but FWD bias...why..
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      02-03-2021, 12:23 PM   #11
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It seems they tested the RWD M340i, it would have been interesting to have seen how the M340i X-Drive would have performed with more grip (& weight).
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      02-03-2021, 12:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Game View Post
Impressed with the Benz. Great looking car with performance to boot...but FWD bias...why..
Its FWD based, bias in the CLA45 is split 50/50 or 100 to the rear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by C/D: Lightening Lap 21'
Grip counts for a lot, but the CLA's handling is amazingly neutral for a transverse-front-engine architecture. In fact, this Merc is downright tail-happy until the tires warm up. Unlike the STI, the CLA resists understeer. Benz's all-wheel drive is revelatory in the way it holds the line through corners, allowing you to get on the power early.
The great time is likely a result of excellent tires, but also the the 4Matic system which was updated compared to the last CLA45 with a new torque vectoring system and front axle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by C/D: CLA Revealed
The new, variable 4Matic system packs what Mercedes calls AMG Torque Control on the rear axle differential. Essentially, there's an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch connected to a driveshaft for each rear wheel, which allows torque to be distributed between both the front and rear wheels and each rear wheel individually. That means the CLA45 can send 100 percent of its 354 lb-ft of torque to just the rear wheels, making it essentially rear-wheel drive, and when equipped with the available Drift mode, the CLA45 will be able to easily do just that: drift.
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      02-03-2021, 12:49 PM   #13
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An interesting graphic from the Taycan's individual article. Without a proper charger nearby a track, it can take a while to charge those batteries.

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      02-03-2021, 12:52 PM   #14
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Impressive number from the eternally heavy Taycan Turbo S.

But it just goes to show how much weight matters. It got destroyed by the 911 Turbo S. And let's not forget that the 911's weight distribution is not as ideal as the EV Taycan's.
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      02-03-2021, 01:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 4 7 View Post
It seems they tested the RWD M340i, it would have been interesting to have seen how the M340i X-Drive would have performed with more grip (& weight).
They chose a RWD M340i because it's faster around the track.
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      02-03-2021, 01:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexFL View Post
The 992 Turbo S is super impressive! Can't even imagine what 992 GT3 RS will do.
Fine I'll say it.. I suspect the 992T will beat the 992 GT3RS around this track time and time again.. the awd grip it has upon exiting corners cannot be matched even with a lighter, rwd car
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      02-03-2021, 02:02 PM   #17
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Should have included Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye. I wonder how this car compares on the track with its near 800 hp.
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      02-03-2021, 02:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcusem3 View Post
Fine I'll say it.. I suspect the 992T will beat the 992 GT3RS around this track time and time again.. the awd grip it has upon exiting corners cannot be matched even with a lighter, rwd car
I don’t think so. Lower weight and the downforce on the GT3 RS are the key. It obviously also depends on the track and the weather conditions.
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      02-03-2021, 02:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Its FWD based, bias in the CLA45 is split 50/50 or 100 to the rear.


The great time is likely a result of excellent tires, but also the the 4Matic system which was updated compared to the last CLA45 with a new torque vectoring system and front axle.
I'm a little confused, so how's it FWD biased?
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      02-03-2021, 02:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Game View Post
I'm a little confused, so how's it FWD biased?
basically it's a transverse front engine car that can send up to 100% of the power to the rear wheels.
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      02-03-2021, 02:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Game View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Its FWD based, bias in the CLA45 is split 50/50 or 100 to the rear.


The great time is likely a result of excellent tires, but also the the 4Matic system which was updated compared to the last CLA45 with a new torque vectoring system and front axle.
I'm a little confused, so how's it FWD biased?
Its not, I was saying despite its front-wheel drive based architecture, the bias is actually split more towards the rear, through its 4Matic+ system and torque vectoring as it can send 100% of power to the rear alone. If it were front bias, it would be putting more power to the front wheels than the rear.
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      02-03-2021, 03:09 PM   #22
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Interestingly M340i is faster than RS5. That's impressive even if the results slightly skewed one way or the other.
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