by Carlos Lago, Senior Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
This month marks a full year with our 2016 BMW 340i xDrive. Unfortunately there wasn't a party or cake, but we did treat the 340i to an oil and filter change. Hopefully cars get far more enjoyment out of dealer visits for service than owners do.
The 340i accrued just over 1,000 miles this month, in the process providing quiet yet powerful transportation. Editors commented on its seat comfort and debated the value of the powertrain when faced with the constant stop-and-go of the Los Angeles commute. Also, a part of the dash fell off. Again.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The vast majority of this month's driving was either at low city speeds or with the tach parked near redline. No surprise then that the average fuel economy result was 17.8 mpg — the second lowest we've recorded yet.
Like all turbocharged vehicles, our 340i is more sensitive to driving style when it comes to fuel economy. Its 23.5 mpg lifetime average falls below the EPA's combined rating, but we've seen well over 30 mpg on multiple fills. Alas, no one's been able to best Senior Manager of Content Strategy Josh Sadlier's 34.6 mpg best and nearly unbelievable 518.4-mile range from August last year.
Average lifetime mpg: 23.5
EPA mpg rating: 25 combined (22 city/32 highway)
Best fill mpg: 34.6
Best range: 518.4 miles
Current odometer: 22,897 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
The 340i went into service late in the month for an oil and filter change, which was performed at no cost under BMW's free maintenance plan. Even though it was a madhouse when we went to pick up the car, we were promptly led to the adviser we selected online. Chris processed our paperwork, offered us a ride and had us on our way in short time. It's possible we received different treatment because he noticed the car was owned by BMW. It's just as possible it was all him. Either way, this was the best service experience we've had at a BMW dealer in a long time.
"I hopped in the 340i Saturday morning and found a small part of the dash sitting on the cupholder. I first thought someone had broken into the car, but there were no other signs of damage. Plus, all the wires on the dash trim were still connected. It'd simply fallen out. None of the tabs on the piece looked broken, so I slid it back into place. The next morning, the same problem: The trim piece was sitting on the cupholder again. Curiously, on the morning after that, the trim piece stayed attached. Let's hope it stays like that." — Carlos Lago, senior writer
"My relationship with driver seats is like a 2-year-old's relationship with steamed vegetables: lots of fussing and complaining. Aggressive headrests, armrests that are too low to be useful, steering wheels that don't telescope enough ... I feel a tantrum coming on. But the BMW is great. The seat is comfortable and all the adjustments are meaningful. The wheel comes out far enough, and I can actually use the armrests. The headrest doesn't force me to sit like Quasimodo. The thigh rest can be extended! And the tilt function! The tilt function doesn't just tilt the cushion, so that you wind up folded awkwardly until you can adjust the back. The whole seat, back and all, tilts as a single unit. This makes so much sense, but the Bimmer is the only car I've been in that does it." — Will Kaufman, associate automotive editor
"I think the car looks great, the interior is beautiful, and it has, or so I'm told, an incredible powerplant. The problem for me is that I didn't get to experience the powertrain magic everybody gushes over. During my commute, I got stuck in traffic both to and from the office. It's unlikely I ever got to moving faster than your average city bus. Slogging along at 25 miles per hour, I couldn't justify that kind of money knowing I'd probably be just as content in a 320i. This isn't to take away from the 340i, so please don't take this post as such. The joy the zero-to-60 time the 340i offers must be incredible, and for the folks who can actually take advantage of what this thing can do, I envy you. But if you're looking to buy this bad boy knowing you're going to spend the majority of your time looking out the windshield at the bumper of another car instead of at open road, you'd probably be just as happy in a lesser model." — Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor
"There's this perceived general sense of security people associate with all-wheel drive, and it's something I've never understood. I don't think enough people pay attention to the downsides it brings. In the case of our 340i, it increases the turning circle by over a foot, making tight U-turns harder to execute. It adds weight and complexity to the front, blunting the handling. And you have to pay an additional $2,000 at the dealer. Now I say this with the privilege of living in perennially sunny Los Angeles, but my ideal 3 Series would be rear-drive only." — Carlos Lago