Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough
Brabus works its magic on Smart car
Smart is mounting a comeback as an all-electric manufacturer, starting with the #1 small SUV.
It’s a cute little thing, with a Mercedes-like design, Geely’s electric-specific SEA platform and a rear-mounted 200kW/343Nm electric motor paired with a 66kWh nickel-manganese-cobalt battery.
As good as that sounds as a small city runabout, tuner Brabus has other things in mind for it . . . namely beating that pesky Tesla Model Y in performance.
That has resulted in the Smart #1 Brabus, a fiendishly powerful version of the SUV boasting a second electric motor at the front for a total of 315kW/543Nm, allowing a 0-100kph sprint of just 3.7 seconds thanks to all that power and AWD.
That’s as fast as a Model Y Performance, going by Tesla’s official numbers which include a one-foot roll out.
Range probably takes a hit, as the battery seems to be unchanged. Brabus doesn’t say either way, but we’d expect it to be somewhere around 420km.
Other changes to the #1 include a new front bumper paired with a ducted bonnet, both designed to channel more air to the additional front-mounted motor.
There are new-look wheels, side skirts, door mirrors and a rear bumper, and the paint has bright red accents contrasting with matte grey.
The red/grey combo carries on into the cabin, with red LED lights, seat belts and stitching going along with an aluminium finish on the dashboard.
If Brabus tuning a Smart car seems strange, the two companies actually have something of a history. Brabus has worked on the Smart ForTwo, ForFour and Roadster models, which never really set the performance world on fire but sure gave the Smart models some needed pizazz.
Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz New Zealand hasn’t said if the reborn Smart brand will make it here or not, which means there’s little chance of the Brabus #1 tearing up our roads.