ROOM FOR TWO: THE STANDARD SMART CAR GETS SOME EXTRA OOMPH
The standard Smart Fortwo has been given extra grunt by Brabus. How has it changed things? Jack Evans finds out.
WHAT’S NEW? Thanks to its innovative and quirky design, the Smart car is one of the most recognisable on the road. The latest model brought with it greater levels of technology and comfort. Now, esteemed tuning company Brabus have taken the Fortwo and breathed a little extra fire into it.
The car’s three-cylinder engine now has extra power, and the suspension has been lowered to give the Smart not just better handling, but a meaner stance on the road. Add to that a muscular bodykit, and you have a Smart that distances itself somewhat from the cutesy image that comes with the standard car.
LOOKS AND IMAGE As previously mentioned, the Smart Brabus Fortwo is slightly more aggressive-looking than the city car it’s based on. You get a sports bodykit, 17-inch wheels and a rather sporty-looking chrome exhaust - which work together to give the car a much more substantial appearance on the road, and one which is much closer to that found on parent company Mercedes’ vehicles.
Smarts have experienced varying popularity since the first City- Coupe hit the road in 1998. The brand’s had its many ups and downs - but appears to be returning to form. With better levels of reliability, as well as consistently good safety scores, Smart is a brand that very much seems on the up-and-up. SPACE AND PRACTICALITY At just 2,740mm long, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Smart Brabus Fortwo wouldn’t offer too much interior space. Yes, compared to a conventional, it isn’t too roomy, but given its diminutive footprint, there’s a lot more room than you think. There’s about 260 litres of boot space which, thanks to its depth, is more than enough for a weekend bag.
There are plenty of cubbies in the interior too, with a neat drawer that slides from underneath the gearstick - ideal if you want to keep items like mobile phones out of sight. The Smart might be small, but it’s not difficult to live with whatsoever.
BEHIND THE WHEEL Despite its boxy proportions, the Smart is actually quite the hoot to drive. Thanks to Brabus’ attention to the suspension, there’s not much body roll. The engine, when linked to a surprisingly sharp six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, provides more than enough power which means that on country roads it’s a fair bit of fun.
It’s not too unsettled on the motorway either, thanks to cruise control. It buzzes a fair bit at higher speeds, but it’s not too tiring a place to be for a longer drive.
However, the Brabus is best suited to around town. It nips in and out of traffic with ease, and parking is equally simple. You actually start looking out for the smallest possible spaces just to test yourself - and the car.
Fuel economy sits at a respectable 62.7mpg combined, which means you won’t have to fill up all that often, and the small tank doesn’t cost the earth to fill either.
VALUE FOR MONEY The Smart Brabus Fortwo starts at £16,320, rising to £19,135 for the higher-spec Xclusive model. There’s also a cabrio version, though this commands a premium, with the base car retailing for £18,105 and £21,275 for the cabrio.
This is a fair amount of money for such a small car. When you compare it to a standard hatchback, it does seem expensive, while being able to offer only a limited amount of practicality, as well as room for only two. WHO WOULD BUY ONE? If you’re not worried about transporting too many things or people, but more concerned about lowcost city motoring, then the Smart Brabus Fortwo could be just the car for you. It looks stylish, has decent levels of standard equipment, and won’t cost the earth to run.
Easy to park and nimble to drive, the Smart Brabus Fortwo offers the perfect solution for people who don’t want to feel stressed by limited parking opportunities. It won’t turn its nose up at a long motorway run either, which makes it a respectable all-rounder.
If you’re looking for a lot of space then the little Smart won’t be for you. However, if low-cost and small-size motoring is what you’re after, then you’d do well to choose the Brabus Fortwo.