2022 BMW M340d xDrive Touring Automatic G21
While many car makers are throwing in the towel when it comes to diesel, in some quarters, notably the Germans, it’s still the mainstay of their model ranges. And when it comes to Audi and BMW, diesel is powering their sporting flagships. Here we test the sportiest 3 Series G20/G21 diesel of them all, the G21 M340d xDrive Touring. And what a beast it is, with 335bhp on tap, plus an extra 11bhp thanks to its mildly hybridised drivetrain, together with a hefty 516lb ft of torque. It means that this Labrador carrier can hoon its way to 62mph in a supercar rivalling 4.8 seconds, before heading to an artificially limited 155mph. There’s a sizeable price tag to go alongside, though, with £52,060 payable before you’ve glanced down the lengthy options extras list.
The interior is as pleasing as it gets in a compact executive car, with a dashboard that is angled towards the driver, with super clear digital instruments, a widescreen infotainment system that is feature rich with wireless Apple CarPlay, and a chunky steering wheel that’s great to hold. All of the materials used are top notch, the ornate switchgear is arranged in rows for ease of use and the wide central tunnel has a rotary controller to operate the infotainment system, as well as the option of using the steering wheel buttons, or pressing the touchscreen itself. The stubby gear lever is easy to use and ahead of it is a good-sized lidded bin for storage, with cupholders. The door pockets are well proportioned, too, and there’s a compact area underneath the armrest, together with a decent glovebox. There’s plenty of headroom both front and rear, even with a panoramic roof fitted, while the tallest of back seat occupants will have enough leg and knee space. There’s a good-sized boot at 500 litres, and this can be extended to 1,510 litres by electrically folding the back seats down flat.
There’s strong performance off the line, with a huge amount of overtaking grunt on offer. Few cars can touch it for pace, and for the kind of smile that it plants on your face. And yet the engine is smooth and quiet, even when you’re making hay with the right-hand pedal. A wide selection of driving modes allow you to fine tune the experience even further, or you can just leave it to do its own thing. The steering is responsive and agile, with plenty of feel, and this makes it all the more entertaining taking the long route home. The xDrive system delivers lots of the grip, the chassis is honed to perfection, and there’s very little body lean – it’s a really satisfying car to drive fast. The suspension has been set up to be sportily firm, but yet is good at cushioning the deepest potholes and imperfections. There’s some tyre and road noise to be heard at a motorway gallop, but pleasingly wind flutter is pretty much silent.
FACTS & FIGURES 2022 BMW M340d xDrive Touring Automatic G21
- Price £52,060
- Built in Regensburg, Germany
- Codename G21
- Platform CLAR
- Bodystyle 5-door estate, 5-seats
- Layout Four-wheel-drive
- Powerplant 2,993cc, 6-cylinder, 24-valve, turbo diesel with mild hybrid technology
- Transmission 8-speed automatic ZF 8HP22
- Stop-start Yes
- SCR Yes
- Max power (engine) 335bhp @ 4,400rpm
- Max power (mild hybrid) 11bhp
- Max torque 516lb ft @ 1,750-2,250rpm
- Top speed 155mph
- 0-62mph 4.8secs
- CO2 emissions (WLTP) 165g/km (Euro-6d RDE2)
- Economy (WLTP combined) 44.8mpg
- Fuel tank size 59 litres
- Range 582 miles
- Insurance group 42
- BIK rate (2020/2021 tax year) 37%
- Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,713/2,068mm
- Boot space (min/max) 500/1,510 litres
- Kerb/max towing weight 1,955/1,800kg
- Euro NCAP crash rating (saloon tested)
- Warranty 3 years/unlimited miles
- Wheels (Full-size/spacesaver/run-flats/self-sealing/repair kit) No/no/yes/no/no
- What’s Hot + Strong performance, with supercar-rivalling pace. Roomy and practical. Great quality interior.
- What’s Not — Lofty price tag. Large transmission hump between the rear seats makes seating a third more difficult.
- Also consider Audi S4 TDI Avant quattro
- Verdict What a vehicle. It deserves a place in everyone’s dream diesel garage.
- DrivesToday rating 9/10