Originally Posted by Add1ct
First off, I will be the first to agree with you that the 335i is a much nicer car and far more attractive. That said, I had an e46 and moving the 1 you can definitely feel the compactness of the car when driving around. Yes, it is a portly thing, but it is still quite a bit smaller than the 3 which makes it, on the whole, much easier to drive. And, imho, until the e46 coupe, the ugly duckling part was an essential component of the BMW formula.
The 3 has a bit less [cheap] plastic in the dash and panels. Aside from that, what's much nicer? My 1 and 3 are both fully loaded and the plastics are the only discerning difference in quality. If I really wanted to nitpick, maybe the doors feel more solid when shutting them on the 3. But that's probably because the 3 sedan has the frame around the window. On the plus side, the 1 gets the large 6-piston calipers.
I can see the argument that the 1 is the ugliest BMW in their lineup right now (which is probably why it made the list in the first place), but I can name at least 20-30 current production cars on the market that look a lot worse. The Mitsubishi Evo should have been on that list as well, for example.