The Ugly Bavarian (or A Little Criticism of Criticism)
By Alex Ricciuti
Dan Neil at the LA Times thinks the BMW 1 series is ugly.
I have to say I agree with his judgment on its looks, even if I’ve only once sat in the car and had to be placed in treatment for a bout of claustrophobia – so, I can’t say anything about the way it drives.
Now, I envy Neil. He has my number-two dream job (I won’t reveal my first, which involves…ah, forget it). Meaning, I would be doing exactly what I’m doing right now, except getting paid enough to purchase consumer goods and services such as food, shelter and clothing. And I’m a huge admirer of Dan Neil’s talents, which I’ve written about before. Although, reading that post now, it kinda verges on the sycophantically creepy. Rest assured, though, I’m not the type to go all Glenn Close and boil anyone’s bunny.
But I do feel the need to advise Neil on something he wrote in his review of the 1-series.
“I search the stars in vain for a reason the designers gave this car a notch-back design — so that there is a discernible trunk in the back — when it so plainly aches for a fastback.“
The answer is simple, Dan. There is a fastback version in Europe. But when you say fastback in the United States of America, someone will inevitably provide its bastardized translation: hatchback. Subsequently, as soon as American consumers hear the word hatchback they, each and every one of 300 million people, immediately think of their uncle Lou’s 1984 Dodge Omni and flee accordingly in the opposite direction, howling madly and flailing their arms in the air in hysteria.
And since when can’t the LA Times afford to spring for a photographer instead of lifting its photos of the car from the BMW press site (the German plates sort of give it away) like some second-rate car blog (not this one!) too afraid to break copyright rules? This does not bode well for my career in automotive criticism (gotta get back to that novel) if a huge paper like the Times is that cost-conscious with its auto section even with a story by a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer.
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