BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

It’s hard to overstate the impact of the BMW 3 Series.

BMW’s small sedan helped redefine what premium cars could be, offering a blend of performance and luxury that rivals have been trying to match for decades. Over six generations, the 3 Series has become the darling of car enthusiasts and a mainstay of luxury car buyers, and expectations are high for the brand-new, seventh-generation 3 Series. It made its public debut at the 2018 Paris Auto Show, and BMW has shared details about the high-zoot M340i at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

On the outside, the new 3 Series doesn’t look dramatically different from its predecessor, but it uses a new body shell made from a mix of high-strength steel and aluminum. Despite being slightly larger than the outgoing model, the 2020 3 Series is up to 121 pounds lighter, according to the Munich-based firm. The new 3 Series also boasts an impressively slippery drag coefficient of 0.26. It also incorporates adaptive LED headlights into BMW’s Laserlight system, which redirects light automatically to avoid blinding other drivers while the high beams are on.

The first 2020 3 Series variant to hit showrooms will be the 330i. It features standard rear-wheel drive, optional xDrive all-wheel drive, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. BMW will then launch the M340i in both rear-wheel drive and xDrive guises, with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six producing 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. The 330e plug-in hybrid will return as well. The 3 Series has been a manual transmission holdout, but BMW confirmed it won’t offer the seventh-generation model with a stick in the United States.

The 2019 330i will do zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds with all-wheel drive, and 5.6 seconds with rear-wheel drive, according to BMW, with a top speed of 155 mph for both versions when equipped with optional performance tires. The M340i will do zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds with all-wheel drive. Expect the next-generation M3 performance model to improve on that.

Like all modern BMWs, the 2020 3 Series will be available with an array of driver aids. The adaptive cruise control system works at speeds up to 130 mph and can brake the car to a complete stop, according to BMW. On limited-access highways at speeds up to 37 mph, a traffic-jam assist system can keep the car moving without any control inputs; it uses a camera to ensure the driver is still paying attention. A parking assist feature can automatically maneuver the car into parallel or perpendicular spaces, according to BMW.

The updated iDrive infotainment system works through a standard 8.8-inch touchscreen and 5.7-inch digital instrument cluster in base models. The optional Live Cockpit Professional version enlarges the displays to 12.3 inches and 10.25 inches, respectively. The 3 Series also gets BMW’s new Alexa-like personal assistant, which responds to the prompt “hey BMW” and natural-language commands like “find the nearest gas station.” BMW Digital Key lets owners use a smartphone in place of a conventional key fob. However, that function is only compatible with near-field-communication-capable Samsung Galaxy phones running Android 8.0 and above and on an approved carrier’s network.

The new BMW 3 Series promises more tech than ever, but will that overwhelm this sedan’s traditional mission as a driver’s car? We’ll find out when we get some seat time over the coming months. The 2020 BMW 33oi goes on sale in the U.S. in March 2019, priced from $41,245 with rear-wheel drive and $43,245 with xDrive all-wheel drive (both prices include a mandatory $995 destination charge). The M340i will arrive later in 2019, followed by the 330e plug-in hybrid in 2020, and new versions of the related 4 Series coupe and convertible after that. No word yet on the return of the 3 Series wagon or the Gran Turismo hatchback.

Updated 11-13-2018: Added official information about the M340i.


Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Smart Home

Is old-school Airstream finally embracing smart home technology?

Airstream's vintage-looking trailers have a huge audience but its 2019 Classic camping trailers are getting a modern upgrade with the addition of app-controlled smart home technology to bring modern convenience online.

Did that car just wink at you? Daimler previews car-to-pedestrian signals

Eager to show off progress with autonomous cars and perhaps do some consumer softening as well, Daimler and Bosch previewed car-to-pedestrian communications. A sensor-loaded Mercedes S appears to wink to acknowledge a pedestrian's presence.

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.