New BMW 1 Series – Ugly or just a bit different?

BMW have released photos of the new BMW 1-Series. Our first thoughts are that its going to be one of the ugliest new cars on sale, and the online reaction seems to be pretty similar. But perhaps the styling will grow on us…

A lot of articles have been written about this new 1-Series on popular car sites and in the comment sections youll find a lot of criticism against BMW and their design department. Its a similar story on Twitter too, with a lot of very influential people in the car industry tweeting their surprise at its appearance.

BMW have launched some unusual looking cars in the last few years, including the BMW X1, 5-Series GT and the infamous X6. However, it can be argued that they are fairly niche cars, whereas the current 1-Series has been a fantastic seller for BMW. Were surprised that they’ve decided to push the boundaries so far with their entry level, more mainstream offering.

BMW 2012 1-Series

Reactions to other recent BMWs, including the new 5-Series and the original 1-Series werent overly positive, but nowhere near as negative as they have been this time round.

When we first saw these shots they were labelled as leaked photos which we presumed to be a photoshop creation of what someone thought the new 1-Series could look like. Then it dawned on us that actually this was the real thing.

New 1-Series red

Now were not really qualified to give a detailed view on the styling of cars, well leave that to experts like Car Design News. All we can comment on is our completely subjective initial opinions.

The front is similar to the new 7-Series and the X1, but doesnt seem right on a small car like this. The nose is very extended and the kidney grilles at the front look rather undersized.

New 1-Series rear

Its not only the front that were not keen on. The back looks rather like a squished Volkswagen Polo and also reminds us slightly of the rear of a Toyota iQ.

New 1-Series interior

As with all modern BMWs, the interior looks very smart. However, the instrument panel does look somewhat stretched in height and the sat-nav screen (though likely optional) is rather dominating.

So enough about the looks, what about the rest of it? The engine line-up consists of two 1.6 litre petrols, the 116i with 136hp and the 118i with 170hp. Theyll be three 2.0 litre diesel engines, the 116d with 116hp, 118d with 143hp and the 120d with 184hp. Soon after launch BMW will produce the 116d EfficientDynamics, which will have a 116hp 1.6 Diesel capable of getting under the 100g/km CO2 level, meaning it will be congestion charge exempt and road tax will be free. Other changes over the old 1-Series include an increase in length and width, a more spacious interior and larger boot. Theres no doubting that itll turn out to be a very good car, but the aesthetics of a car are incredibly important to buyers.

Gavin Ward, BMWs UK Media Relations manager tweeted us saying Not sure that colour choice does it any favours but car is much more modern and fresh in the metal. Perhaps it really will be one of those cars that just isnt very photogenic.

1-Series new in blue



Some would argue that we should praise BMW for being courageous. Though is it really that bold a move to lift design elements from their higher end cars and transplant them onto a smaller car? The styling at the back isnt exactly adventurous, nor does the interior appear dramatically different to other BMWs.

Maybe it will look better in the metal, we look forward to finding out. Whether or not enough customers will buy it remains to be seen, we fear BMW have taken it a bit too far this time.


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