Firstly, is not styled by Chris Bangle. Any BMW not styled by Chris Bangle is a good BMW (with the exception of the 1st generation BMW Z4 which is messy with all the lines here and there, but still proportionate). Chris Bangle who has now quit the automotive industry (for the moment) gets his inspiration from an architectural philosophy called Deconstructivism. Now while that is all fine and dandy with buildings like the Guggenheim, in America or the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, a car with such a design tends to be too messy. Too many cris-crossing lines. Like the designer basically took an axe and started slicing the prototype clay models to get the look (example – BMW Z4 again), or that very ugly BMW E65 7 series. That car was so 'impressive' that Time magazine named it as one of the 50 worst cars of all time (for its rear end styling and i(diotic)-Drive).
Anyway, let's move on. I could go on forever about Chris Bangle's design flaws. I have to end it with one thing. A car needs to be streamlined and aerodynamic looking. It needs to be fluid, and look fast to look classic. A car would look great if you based it on a fighter plane (Honda NSX) or flying saucer (check out Alfa Romeo's Disco Volante concept cars from the 1960s) or Speed Racer's car and not based a museum or the Sydney Opera House. I distinctly remember reading an article about Bangle in Sydney sketching that building as reference for future car design and it shocked me a little.
But this new car basically gets rid of that bowl-like character line. That line is now straight and only curves up right at the end instead of that 'fat man line'. And without that concave character line it somehow looks lower and everything fits like a glove. It is not loose but muscular looking, unlike the previous model. And it is because of this (and the new press photos of the car which makes the new 1 series look fabulous), I think the new BMW 1 series is miles better than the car it replaced.