Stacking them up: How BMW's new M340i xDrive compares to its rivals in SA
• M340i xDrive faces C43 AMG and S4 in SA.
• The Audi is the "oldest" of the three mentioned cars.
• All three sedans exhibit strong performances.
Stacking them up
The buyer who is looking at any of these three sports sedans will know what they are looking for. Whether your affiliation is towards a brand, the "best price" or performance, you will know what tickles your interest.
If the ball were in our court, the S4 would fall by the wayside. Not because it doesn't have the right ingredients to make itself count, but because it is not as new as the other two. However, for substantially less than either the Mercedes or BMW, you get a car that is not holding back when it comes to performance. Just some food for thought…
Between the remaining two cars, there is virtually nothing to choose between them. They are similar on price, have similar power outputs, as well as similar performances. The final decision will come down to preference, and that could mean a whole lot of things. It's a difficult decision, but the choice you make will not leave you regretting not going for the other.
But if you really are finicky about it and want something to base your decision on, the C43 AMG has a sweeter exhaust note.
• We drive the latest 320i, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
• Power is rated at 135kW and 300Nm.
The 3 Series rear-wheel drive setup means I could initiate that exciting hint of oversteer and slip from the rear.
BMW says each model weighs around 55kg less (the same as 17 600 tea bags) than its predecessor. It has a skill to it that shines through in the chassis and communicates via the steering.
I cherry-picked another favourite road of mine to evaluate the 3's ride on Ou Kaapse Weg. A typical mountain pass that has long sweeping bends and stunning views of the Southern Suburbs and beyond.
I was keen to feel the adaptive chassis work on the different road conditions. It offers a supple ride that is the right mix of comfort and sporty. A lovely little turbo whistle and bang from the waste gate reminds you of the car's sporty underpinnings.
The new 3's levels of refinement are almost scary in how quickly the car picks up speed. It does so seamlessly and puts its proverbial hand up as a complete all-rounder. It's more comfortable than ever, with more toys and technology than any generation.
The G20 3 Series, a Top 12 Best Buys champion, continues to impress. It’s a deeply talented product. The smooth, powerful drivetrain is near-flawless while the M340i offers all the benefits – design, comfort, practicality – of a cooking 3 Series. The all-wheel drive means you can use more of the torque more often with significantly improved grip levels. It is cause for celebration and as one tester commented, quite possibly all the car you will ever need.
BMW SA has an illustrious history with its specials and unique models. Now it plans a limited-edition 3-Series to pay tribute to one of its most iconic models, the 325iS.
BMW and South Africa have a unique relationship. Our market has been privy to some special-edition vehicles over the years, with the most iconic arguably being the 325iS. The 325iS was built specifically with the intention of circuit racing in the 80s and 90s. The 325iS and 333i which came before it were loved and trying to find one is near impossible these days. The Gusheshe (as the 325iS is locally known) is an integral part of SA motoring history and word has it, Gusheshe 2.0 is on the way.