While the merits of BMW's new design direction have been hotly debated, experts at TheCarConnection.com find almost universal agreement that the 2010 BMW 1-Series definitely looks like a BMW—it's just not as elegantly proportioned as others in the family.
Introduced two years ago in the U.S. market, the current 2010 BMW 1-Series is a carryover in terms of design from last year's model. ConsumerGuide says that the "BMW 1-Series ... lineup includes 128i and 135i models." Both the 128i and 135i are available as either a two-door coupe or a convertible. Autoblog asserts that "the styling language of the new 1-Series coupe is more attractive in person than the press shots...would indicate."
The 1-Series shares the long hood and short deck of the 3-Series, but is smaller. Its 104.7-inch wheelbase is 4 inches shorter than the 3-Series Coupe, but its truncated shape is shy of its bigger sibling by half a foot. Overall width is almost 3 inches narrower. The overall effect is that the 1-Series is a bit abbreviated, and some might not think that its proportions are quite as "right" as those of the 3-Series.
Road & Track feels that the BMW 1-Series's "execution is more in tune with E36-based coupes, the two-generation forebear of the current 3 Series."
Cars.com considers the new 2010 BMW 1-Series "awkward" and finds the "bulbous shape of the rear part of the passenger area" is very "out of tune with the rest of BMW's very sleek-looking lineup." They add that the "1 Series isn't overtly striking in the visual department," and it "seems hum-drum...even in sporty 135i duds." While generally approving of the styling on the new 2010 BMW 1-Series, Road & Track notes that the "long-hood, tall-roofline, short-rear-deck profile projects an odd, almost ungainly proportion from some angles." If nothing else, the exterior styling is divisive; for every person who loves the 1-Series' look, there is another who finds it a complete turnoff.
Inside, the new BMW 2010 1-Series features traditional BMW styling, which is to say that the car is very clean and upscale. ConsumerGuide feels that while the "audio and climate controls are mounted somewhat low," they are still "easy to reach and simple to decipher and adjust," while Popular Mechanics comments that the BMW 1-Series is "nearly identical to the 3-Series," a car that reviewers and customers alike have stamped with their approval.