BMW Reveals 2020 M340i

BMW has teased us with the reinvention of the 3-Series for a while now, and while they did reveal the 2020 seventh generation 3-series in October, we’re more excited about the new sporty version of this car.

The car giant just revealed the M-variant for this new 3-Series – the M340i. Let’s take a closer look at what this sporty little BMW will bring to the table, and when you can expect to find it at your local dealership.

Image: BMW

Some Stiff Competition

The new M340i will be equipped with a 3.0L Turbo in-line 6 cylinder engine. It’s actually the the same engine that sat under the hood of the sixth generation M340i, but it’s undergone a makeover to pull even more horsepower and torque out of the German engineering.

This particular engine style puts it in direct competition with two other luxury cars in it’s class – the S4 by Audi and the C43 by Mercedes, which both have a 3.0L straight six engine.

The M340i falls squarely in the middle when it comes to horsepower, with it’s newly tuned engine generating 382 horsepower. For comparison, the Mercedes generates 385hp and the S4 brings up the rear with 354 hp.

All the Bells and Whistles

In addition to the engine, the M340i is equipped with all the bells and whistles. One thing that might disappoint BMW purists is the fact that the only transmission option currently available for this model is an 8-speed automatic.

It does come equipped with optional all wheel drive. While it doesn’t make up for the lack of a manual transmission, it is a pretty decent consolation prize.

Other standard equipment includes an electronically controlled differential, and M Sport brakes with a 13.7 inch rotor and 4 piston calipers in the front. Rear brakes are reduced to a single piston caliper.

The suspension in the new M340i has been upgraded too, using a new technology to minimize the amount of road bumps that you feel behind the wheel. The front shocks work to absorb rebound, while the rear shocks can alter the compression as needed.

Of course, if you want all the bells and whistles, you can choose the optional electronically controlled adaptive shocks for an additional cost.

Even the exterior has gotten an upgrade. While it doesn’t look much different than the previous generations of this model, the body shell is lighter and stiffer, decreasing the car’s overall weight by roughly 120 pounds.

BMW hasn’t released any pricing information for this new 3-Series sports car yet, but it should be making an appearance in BMW showrooms across the country in July of 2019 to be ready for the 2020 model year.

We should be seeing price information in the coming months, ahead of the car’s official release. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this new M340i though, just to test out that new suspension.

While the lack of a manual transmission might make some drivers balk, BMW definitely tries to make up for it with all the bells and whistles that they’ll be including as standard equipment on this sporty new model.

Slump in Sales Could Drive Minis to BMW Dealerships

Miniature sales numbers could soon force Minis, which currently have their own dealerships, to share space with BMWs.

The Mini marque, which is owned by BMW, has had stand-alone Mini stores since 2008 as part of its efforts to maintain a unique, independent image. Today, there are 127 Mini stores. Mini dealerships, though, appear to be struggling to sustain this independent dealership model due to lower-than-expected sales numbers.

Mini projected it would have 100,000 in annual sales by 2017, but it hasn’t yet topped 66,500, a number it reached in 2013. The brand’s sales decreased by 10 percent in 2017, and through the first 10 months of 2018, Mini sold only 37,359 cars.

This has led some Mini dealers to request an integration with nearby BMW dealerships to reduce overhead costs and increase efficiency. Sharing costs associated with real estate and operations could help the brand stay afloat.

“We want to focus on dealer profitability so that they are properly represented in the marketplace,” Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini Region Americas, told Automotive News.

BMW and Mini, however, want to ensure brand differentiation should the two merge dealerships. To accomplish this, they’re considering creating separate Mini showrooms at BMW dealership locations. Dedicated Mini salespeople and service workers would staff these showrooms. Mini is also working with some dealers to reduce their requirements for showroom space to facilitate the move.

Mini has also indicated that it’s exploring other ways to support dealerships that would remain independent.

Challenges Facing Mini

The sales slump is the primary challenge facing Mini, but another issue is the lack of new product. Mini introduced the redesigned Countryman in spring 2017 and a plug-in hybrid variant later that year. A full-electric model is expected to arrive next year, but some Mini dealers have expressed worries that there isn’t enough new product on the horizon to keep customers interested.

“We’re in a development phase,” Felbermair said. “There’s a number of longer range projects that you will see come to fruition.”

Some dealers have also expressed concerns about a lack of consumer awareness caused by inadequate marketing funds.

Perhaps the biggest threat, though, is the fact that the company hasn’t been able to convince Americans to buy premium small cars. The U.S. market for SUVs and light trucks is strong, but that of premium compact cars continues to struggle. Mini also hasn’t been able to attract the young drivers it originally that would be its core audience.

“As a dealer and a manufacturer you have a vision of where the brand is going, and you have to prepare for it,” Jason Willis, a member of the Mini National Dealer Council, told Automotive News. “In this case, the vision now isn’t what it was when some of these stores were built.”

However, BMW and Mini still have hope that things will turn around. The marque is going through a bit of a rough patch that’s left it unable to maintain its independent dealership model. Although the company hasn’t made a final decision yet, reducing costs by moving in with BMW dealers may help Mini hold on until conditions improve.

Your BMW Could Be Recalled Due To A Fire Risk

BMW recently announced that it is recalling 1.6 million diesel vehicles worldwide because of potential fluid leaks that could cause fires.

The automaker said that in some diesel vehicles, the coolant glycol could leak out of the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler, which is part of the emissions reduction system. When combined with typical deposits of soot at the high temperatures that occur in the EGR module, the leaks could result in smoldering particles that could cause the intake manifold to melt “in very rare cases,” the BMW Group said in a statement. This could cause a fire “in extremely rare cases,” the company said.

BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe

The company previously recalled 480,000 vehicles in Asia and Europe in mid-August after fires were reported in South Korea. In August, the South Korean government banned owners of affected vehicles from driving them until they could be inspected after videos of BMW vehicles on fire went viral in the country. The company also faced a class-action lawsuit from customers that alleged that BMW did not respond promptly to the fires, which led to an investigation by the government. Police raided the automaker’s office in Seoul. In response, BMW said it would pick up the cars banned from being driven, provide rental cars to customers and conduct the necessary inspections. No injuries were reported related to the incidents.

Following the driving ban in South Korea, the BMW Group conducted further examinations of vehicles with engines with similar setups. The company then announced the ban for Asia and Europe. On October 23, BMW said it would expand its recall to cover a total of 1.6 million vehicles worldwide, including around 54,700 vehicles in the U.S and Canada. The announcement includes some vehicles made between August 2010 and August 2017. As part of the technical campaign, the company said it would check the EGR modules and replace any faulty components in all potentially affected vehicles.

The global recall is voluntary. The BMW Group said that it did not find any significant risks to customers in its recent examinations.

“Nonetheless the BMW Group decided to further reduce even this minor risk by expanding the country-specific technical campaigns. It is the goal of BMW Group to support the trust and confidence of our customers in our products,” the BMW Group said.

BMW said that it would contact customers with affected cars. Customers can also check for recalls that apply to their vehicle by entering the last seven numbers of their vehicle identification number (VIN) on the BMW website. Additionally, customers can contact BMW or their local dealer with questions and concerns.

BMW also recently recalled approximately 2,600 2016-17 BMW M3 sedans, 2016-17 M4 and M4 GTS coupes and 2017 M4 convertibles because of a potentially faulty connection between the flange and driveshaft. A failed connection could result in a loss of propulsion and increased crash risk. BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driveshaft at no cost to the customer.

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