PERSONALTIES are more than skin deep.
Remember the fresh-faced Kylie Minogue doing the locomotion, Justin Beiber when he has just a Canadian kid strumming his guitar and the girl before band camp in American Pie?
Well take one look at this BMW 3 Series and you could forgive it for being your traditional straight-laced sedan - renowned for doing just about everything well, but not quite the "take me to bed or lose me forever" material.
Perhaps the greatest hint that this Beemer is something special comes via the price-tag. At $100 shy of $90,000 it's hardly pocket-change, although anyone looking to get into a 340i might need some new strides as this executive-styled sedan is fly by the seat of your pants stuff.
Hints of the prowess within lie with those famous M tri colours. M Sport touches including the door sills, steering wheel and figure-hugging front pews dictate the sporting bent of the range-topping 3 Series - until you hop into the M3 of course.
Our test machine featured striking oyster interior with brilliant white trim offset by the black dash. That colour scheme delivered some excitement to a typically straight-forward BMW cabin layout. While it lacks some pizzazz, it remains supremely functional and easy to navigate - one you master the central dial for the primary menu operations.
On the road
Plant your right foot and you see what all the fuss is about. Launching from standstill with brutish force, it feels quick. Officially you can reach 100kmh in a tick over five seconds.
This is the same turbocharged six-cylinder found in the 7 Series, but this is more nimble weaponry. It'll handle everything you throw at it with Germanic nonchalance...corner (ja), sprint (ja), sprint and corner (ja).
Even better you can fit the whole family in to enjoy the experience.
What do you get?
Equipment is high-spec, including 19-inch alloys, radar cruise control, head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, automatic parallel and 90-degree parking, surround view cameras for top, side and rear views, Dakota leather trim, dual zone air con, sports steering wheel with paddle shifters, full Bluetooth functionality with snap-in charger, 600 watt 16-speaker Harman/Kardon surround sound along with sat nav featured on an 22.3cm colour screen.
While there are no direct six-cylinder rivals, also around the mark is the Audi A4 Quattro Sport Plus ($68,700) and Mercedes-Benz C250d ($70,400).
There's no sacrifice for all that performance with a decent 480 litres of boot space. There's also dual cup-holders front and back, and easy access to USB/auxiliary ports.
Funky factor Well, it does look a bit like a nice suit. Quality, without setting the world on fire. The 340i does get dual exhaust pipes, but they look a little unloved and would look better recessed into the bodywork.
The lowdown Every time we step inside a 3 Series we're impressed with the wide-ranging ability. The 340i is no different. It's an outstandingly fun drive with all the hallmarks of what has made BMW revered the world over. But the elephant in the room is the circa $90,000 price tag.
An entry-level three-cylinder BMW 318i is still a reasonable steer at $55,000, although it doesn't have the straight-six punch and raw-edge speed.
What matters most
What we liked: Brilliant all-rounder with a savage side, white leather trim.
What we'd like to see: Dual exhaust pipes set within rear apron, more modern exterior design.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is conditioned based where the vehicle informs when servicing is required. Five years/80,000km BMW Service Inclusive package for $1340.
Model: 2016 BMW 340i.
Details: Four-door five-seat rear-wheel drive luxury compact sedan.
Engine: 3.0-litre twinscroll turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine, generating 240kW and 450Nm.
Transmission: Eight-speed Steptronic.
Consumption: 6.8 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance 0-100kmh: 5.1 seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $89,900.
Driving experience 18/20
Features and equipment 17/20
Functionality and comfort 17/20
Value for money 15/20
Style and design 16/20
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