The 1er came to the forefront as demand had emerged for a compact BMW an entry point to the BMW brand. Originally the entire concept was meant to a Rover until BMW went on its own and that included scrapping the Rover concept entirely and starting from scratch on the BMW.
Looks are subjective to the few but I find the car in real life to be distinctive , original and very sporty looking for a compact hatch.
But the F20 has had a great start in regards to sales , I know many that are holding off for the F21 and indeed the F21 M135i because that is THEIR car. BMW's are developed from a brief and a blank sheet of paper in regards to the demands of our global customers.
The FWD BMW 1er also follows through this strategy.
The competition has grown since the E87 and BMW need to remain competitive in regards to this segment which strategically is the global car market's priority segment. Everybody plays to win here.