As a lifelong BMW enthusiast, I’ve always admired the blend of sportiness and sophistication that the brand brings to the table. However, when it comes to the new BMW 1 Series and its performance variant, the M135, I felt there was room for a little extra flair. That’s when I decided, armed with Photoshop and Procreate, to give these models a fresh, updated design that aims to build upon the original styling.

Upfront Changes

The first change we made was to remove the visual weight created by the wide horizontal intake and make it sportier. By cutting away the upper edge into a V-shape, we brought back the “smile” the 1 Series used to have without sacrificing its sporty looks. Additionally, to differentiate it from the M version, we added a crease to improve the flow between the lower intake and the kidney grille, as the previous one felt too subtle.

Kidney Grille

We also revamped the kidney grille’s frame. Many fans noted its lack of character compared to other hatchbacks in the competition. We made the cut between the kidneys much deeper to reduce the visual weight from the plastic piece covering the radar sensor. Drawing inspiration from the original E87 1 Series, we extended the outer edges of the kidneys upwards to give it a friendlier appearance.


We addressed the headlights by reshaping the LEDs to create a modern iteration of the angel eyes, as the vertical DRLs left too much empty space inside the headlights and didn’t fit models outside of the Neue Klasse family. Additionally, we tweaked the edge of the headlights to make them look cleaner and less menacing.

Rear Three-Quarter View

In the rear three-quarter view, we adapted the lower window frame to be completely horizontal and made the Hoffmeister kink more defined. We retained the trim piece with the model number because it looks quite cool and hope BMW adds it to other models for consistency.

Tail Lights

The new tail light design inspired by the recent X2 had no connection with the 1 Series’ character line. To address this, we curved the edge upwards, removed the “controversial” lower notch, and tweaked the LED graphics to resemble more of an L-shape. This way, we combined the new dual LED design language with the traditional L-shape design feature seen in previous generations.

Lower Bumper Area

We made some changes to the lower bumper area. It seemed as if BMW wanted to make the non-M trims look worse on purpose, evidenced by the lack of visible exhaust pipes except for the M135. We added openings for two exhaust pipes on one side of the bumper —like on the old 120i models— and tweaked the diffuser design for a sportier look.

M135 Redesign

For the M135 redesign, we aimed to create a greater contrast with the M-sport looks offered on the rest of the 1 Series configurations. We drew inspiration from the BMW design team’s official concept sketches. The first change we made was to the side intakes, giving them sharper edges and a more vertical orientation. We then added creases parallel to the kidney’s edge to visually add more dynamism, similar to those on the new 5 Series.

Kidneys and Lower Intake

We performed a proper transplant on the kidneys, creating a much larger opening. We left part of the intake in body color to reduce the visual weight of the larger kidneys and added more aerodynamic functionality with additional horizontal slats. To emphasize the bolder kidney design, we split the intersection where the radar sensor was placed and painted it in body color. Finally, we tweaked the lower intake to better integrate with the rest of the elements in the front fascia and added some triangular vent pieces to make it look more extreme.

Given that there are no plans for a more powerful version of the new 1 Series, we are eager to see if BMW designers will spice things up with the M135’s sedan sibling, the M235 xDrive Gran Coupe. Here is also a video showing the redesign process: