Hofmeister stink – the new BMW 1-Series

I consider whether the styling of the new BMW 1 Series is a hit, or a miss

By Tim Kendall | 6th June 2011

I recall thinking that when the original 1 Series arrived around 2004, it was an unnecessarily offensive looking thing, an ungainly John Merrick of a car. Time, though, heals all wounds. Including the unsightly gaping wound that was BMW’s first flame-surfaced rear-drive hatch. As Munich’s A3-chaser became a familar sight on our roads, its ubiquity made the sight of it acceptable, normal even. And so it came to pass, that in M-Sport coupé guise particularly, the 1 Series morphed into a quirky, attractive baby Beemer. And then came the 1 Series M, a full-fat M-division wet dream.

New BMW 1 Series

BMW has just revealed the second-generation 1 Series, and to these eyes, it’s not so much wet dream, as wet fish. Sorry BMW (as if you care), but it stinks. What is going on in Munich’s styling department at the moment? BMW calls the new 1 Series’ styling ‘youthful’ and ‘lively’, but the only thing that was lively when I saw the front end, was my stomach. Honestly, I’ve seen my two year-old niece sculpt more appealing and dynamic designs with Play-Doh.

Okay, beauty and the beholder’s eye. Subjectivity, and all that. Try as I might though, I can’t muster the same restrained diplomacy that the car mags can. Words like ‘challenging’, and ‘divisive’ simply don’t direct sufficient venom at the uncensored, 18-certificated horror that is the junior BMW’s face. Just look at it, if you can bear to – it has the appearance of an Amazonian sloth with a BMW badge stuck to its forehead. And wandering around the back-end to hide from the gurning snout offers no respite from the visual calamity – the tail-light treatment is pure, undiluted VW Polo. Will any of that stop aspirational junior managers choosing it as their default conveyance? Did Ryan Giggs take sound legal advice? Hmmm. You decide.

By Tim Kendall
6th June 2011

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