Dan Neil, car critic at The Wall Street Journal and The Car Show presenter, is pretty smitten with the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, at least on most fronts. As a devotee of the E36 M3, Neil is happy to see that the fairly lightweight coupe comes with an honest inline six-cylinder engine under the hood, even with its forced-induction shenanigans. And the six-speed manual transmission with its excellent clutch and solid shifter apparently warranted spilling some ink over as well, but not all is right in the land of baby M models. According to Neil, the 1 Series M Coupe is "one of the ugliest, most disturbingly wrong car designs in modern history."

As the locals are fond of saying; them's some strong words. We won't be caught leaping to the defense of the vehicle's aesthetics, but we will say Neil comes down a bit hard on the smallest of the M clan. Sure the car isn't the prettiest belle at the heel-toe squaredance, but ugliest of them all? That's a big stretch. We would carefully point Neil's attention toward the likes of the the Dodge Caliber, just about any crossover from SsangYong or even the hideous of all hideousness, the Pontiac Aztek as contenders for that title. What do you think?




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  • 128 Comments
      Brett Bertrand
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pictures have never done BMW justice. When you see the 1M in person though, it looks fantastic. Like a little racecar. Is it better looking than an M3? No. Is it better than a Z8? Not even close. But it does look great for a 1 series and with the M detail added, it only gets better. But you have to see it in person, not online or in videos because these mediums have never done justice for BMW design.
        p4R4d0x
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Brett Bertrand
        I agree with this 100%, I wasn't a huge fan of pictures of the car, but I saw one in person this weekend and it's a sharp little car.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Brett Bertrand
        I've seen it in person a lot. There's been one I pass by at work 2-3 times a week. A black one. It's ugly in person too.
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've always found the 1-Series to be oddly-proportioned, with a too-short trunk. Yes, the the high beltline evokes the 2002, but the wheels sticking out under fender flares don't work. I'm sure it's a total blast to drive, but the 1-Series M is too cartoonish and too boy racer, especially the front fascia.
      Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      it's bulbous.
      TokyoRemix
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love BMW styling, and this just didn't pull me in. I think it's just too small for a car that shape. The 3-Series looks marvelous, the 5-Series looks divine and the 7-Series is a bit bloated. Then again, as a die-hard Porsche guy, I'll certainly understand if enthusiasts love this car in spite of its controversial styling!
      Patrick
      • 3 Years Ago
      It looks like everything else they make and people buy them. So should the question be 'do certain people like ugly cars?'
      Tango Down
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, from some angles it looks like a really fat person lost a lot of weight and the stretched out skin is all loose a saggy. Just a bit too many creases and folds. But... I'd still love to have one!
      Josh
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 1M Coupe isn't ugly, the 1-series coupe that it's based on is ugly. So really, it's not the M's fault...
        Thunderbuck
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Josh
        Yeah, that's about where I land. The 1M does look better than the base 1, but that's not saying much.
      sn0man1
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it is the best design from BMW since the E46. I think post E46 M cars have all suffered from the flame-surfacing grossness. This car re-establishes the chiseled from stone look that prior BMW's had going for them.
      Chris Bangle
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saggy cat belly... not my greatest achievement.
      waetherman
      • 3 Years Ago
      While it's hard to call this design beautiful, I do think it's one of the tightest designs from BMW in recent history. It has character, which is not something a lot of beemers have these days. I think 20 years the 1M will have the kind of passionate following that the 2002 has now.
      pasigiri
      • 3 Years Ago
      To be honest, in my opinion, the ONLY thing saving it (concerning looks only, not performance) is the fact that it's a BMW. The 1 series BMW's just don't look nice to me. Especially, next to the 3 series. Next to the M3, FORGET IT. IT'S UGLY. Case in point, never park a 1M next to an M3.
        pasigiri
        • 3 Years Ago
        @pasigiri
        I know I'll get a "thumbs-down" for this, but being honest, based on looks, I would get a CTS-V Coup over this. (kind of out of the price range, but just concerning looks .....).
      Alex
      • 3 Years Ago
      i don't find it ugly, it looks pretty cool, i know a lot of people don't like the back, but it's killer. The front is ok, i like it better in alpine white or black. It isn't the most beautiful BMW but not necesarilly ugly
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