Smart think­ing!

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Mag­gie Barry COVEN­TRY TELE­GRAPH

THE sun was out, the sky was blue when a big pow­er­ful road­ster went flash­ing by me. “All right for some,” I thought – and then it struck me. I could put the roof down too.

It’s not the first thing you think about when you’re driv­ing a small elec­tric car but this was the smart fortwo from Mer­cedes-Benz which comes with quite a few neat tricks in­clud­ing a fold­away roof.

I pulled over and looked for the switch. There it was at my fin­ger­tips – not hid­den among a mul­ti­tude of di­als – and a few sec­onds later I was queen of the road with the wind just lift­ing the top of my hair. Re­sult.

The smart fortwo EQ cabrio (the EQ is the Mer­cedes-Benz des­ig­na­tion for its elec­tric range) is a small, quirky look­ing car with piles of char­ac­ter.

This one was even more funky be­cause it had been handed over to Brabus, the guys who tune the high end Mer­cedes cars, for a bit more zing and zap than usual.

In the style de­part­ment it looks far more wicked than the aver­age smart­car in high gloss black and it’s lower than nor­mal with a Brabus front spoiler, side skirts, rear dif­fuser and fog lamps.

Un­til now the only smart­cars I had seen had been pretty and mostly in white or sil­ver. Here in­stead was the naughty mem­ber of the fam­ily ready to take its Brabus styling onto the road.

In­side there was more black with leather up­hol­stery, retro style air vents, Brabus hand­brake, ped­als and door sills and a small and sporty gear­stick lever. There were even nicely trimmed black al­loys.

The great thing about this car is that as soon as you switch it on, put it in drive and let loose, it’s off. The elec­tric mo­tor means you get in­stant power as you head for the hills, or in my case, the shops.

And once there, the park­ing is a dream. No more Mr Nice Guy for this lit­tle de­mon. He can get into spa­ces other cars could not even con­tem­plate which makes park­ing so much more stress free. And should you see some­one pull out just be­hind you, this car will turn on a six­pence. Well, the turn­ing cir­cle is ac­tu­ally 6.95 me­tres which just about means you can get round and make that space be­fore any­one else.

The range is not bad if you in­tend, as I did, to nip about lo­cally. You will get 99 miles on one full six-hour charge on a do­mes­tic socket and your smart fortwo EQ will take only 40 min­utes at one of those fast charg­ers. This car is green and rapid.

It also very safe in its ex­clu­sive trid­ion safety cell with Ac­tive Brake As­sist, Hill Start As­sist, rear park­ing sen­sors, cruise con­trol and five airbags.

With the smart­con­trol app you can ac­cess it re­motely too, check the charge and even warm it up be­fore you get in. The only thing you have to re­mem­ber is that any­thing which needs power will also de­plete the bat­tery so you have to in­clude these things in your charg­ing regime.

But all that apart it is great fun to drive and any­one who scoffs at elec­tric cars needs to try it. It will make you smile. The smart fortwo is fast be­com­ing a le­gend.

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