Smart #1: As a 428 hp Brabus, the electric car is really fast

When you think of Smart, you have the 2.50 meter long elephant roller skate fortwo in mind, which has been on the streets for more than 25 years – most recently as a fully electric EQ fortwo. But you have to rethink. The new Smart is now called Smart #1 and is no longer a small one. With a length of 4.27 meters, it has the dimensions of a VW Golf or a Mini Countryman – and is built high in SUV format.

In this respect, the #1 no longer has anything in common with the original idea of ​​the urban micro car. Although the idea of ​​building an electric car was already that of the founder of the Swatch Group, Nicolas Hayek. The Swiss entrepreneur wanted an electric vehicle for the city, which should be similar to a Swatch watch. The rest is history: VW didn’t want the project, Daimler got involved in 1994 and took over all the rights to Smart in 1998.

The problem for the Stuttgart company was that the Smart had become a cult car over the years, but not a bestseller. In the end, this prompted Daimler to hand over the project to its Chinese partner Geely. Now the Smart is back as the #1, coming in three trim levels with rear-wheel drive and in a decidedly sporty variant as the Smart #1 Brabus.

As a Brabus, the Smart #1 delivers a whopping 428 hp

Yes, the cooperation with the tuner from Bottrop (NRW) has remained. And so it is not surprising that not only does the design appear much more martial, but also the performance data speak the dialect of the Ruhr area. Thanks to the two permanent magnet motors on the front and rear axles, the Brabus is not only an all-wheel drive Smart, but also an impressive performance machine.

Smart #1 Brabus

With its 428 hp, the Smart #1 Brabus is already making a statement.

When both engines are working at full power in Brabus mode, 428 hp are available and a maximum torque of 543 Newton meters pushes the 1.9 ton #1 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds.

This happens without a hitch, because the traction is not interrupted by the necessary gear changes. If you push the e-pedal emphatically in the direction of the floor panel, you should press your head against the support as a precaution. Otherwise, when the rocket is launched, it will suddenly hit it. But we know: Small hits on the back of the head improve the ability to think.

Great performance for little money

The acceleration of the #1 Brabus is at least as impressive as the price. Not because the car would be cheap at 48,990 euros; rather because there is no combustion engine with similar performance data at this price.

The Brabus driver only has to limit himself in one thing: the top speed! Anyone who thinks they can get faster here than their single-engine brother will be disappointed. At the end of the day there is the number 180 on the digital speedometer.

Smart #1

The designers have designed the interior of the Smart #1 with great attention to detail and selected materials.

The extent to which Brabus had an influence on the chassis could not be determined during the short first drive. The fact is, however, that the strong #1 is still very comfortable over bumps in the road and is also able to tighten up so that a brisk line can be drawn around the corner.

The Ruhrpott-Smart only reaches its limits when the weight of the battery between the axles starts to push sideways at high speeds. Fortunately, the control systems intervene very skilfully and help to get the Smart back on track.

The Smart #1 is also really fast with just one motor

Of course, you can also be on the road with the Smart #1, which has an output of at least 271 hp. When the maximum torque of 343 Newton meters is pushed to the rear axle, the Stromer accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, which is still fast enough for a snappy start from traffic lights. Especially since both drive variants do not go faster than 180 km/h.

Smart #1 Brabus

The light strip at the front and rear adorns all Smart #1, regardless of the Brabus.

But the Smart variants are not only the same in terms of top speed, the 66 kWh nickel-cobalt-manganese battery is also the same for all. In the best case, it should take the #1 440 kilometers according to WLTP, the Brabus 400 kilometers. According to the first test drive estimates, it will be almost 350 kilometers in real operation.

It is charged with up to 150 kW, which fills the battery from 10 to 80 percent in 30 minutes. It’s three hours on the 22 kW socket. Only the inexpensive entry-level variant #1 Pro+, which is available from 41,490 euros, is limited to 7.5 kW for AC charging and takes 7.5 hours.

Mercedes trimmed the Smart #1 for luxury

Externally and internally, the Mercedes design team headed by Gorden Wagener provided the finishing touches. No edges, flush door handles, streamlined. At the front and rear, the LED lighting units with their continuous light strips are striking, and the C-pillar is adorned with a large Smart logo. The Brabus also has two air inlets on the front hood, which are intended to underline the sporty character.

Smart #1 Brabus

428 hp leave no questions unanswered: If you want, you can draw a clean line around the corner with the Smart #1 Brabus.

What is striking when climbing the #1 models is the effort that has been put into the choice of materials and workmanship. The Smart drives up in this class as a luxury car. Completely different than the VW ID.3 does, for example.

Even the graphics for the narrow 9.2-inch digital instrument cluster, which replaces the round instruments of the past, cannot be grumbled. Easy to read, unobtrusive in color and very informative, the driver has everything in view that is of interest for driving.

Especially since this information is also available in a razor-sharp head-up display if desired. The graphics of the 12.8-inch touchscreen, which rises above the air vents in the center console and whose software is equipped with a Qualcomm 8155 chipset and 128 GB of memory, are just as brilliant and visually successful.

Smart #1

The range of the Smart #1 is between 400 (Brabus) and 440 kilometers, depending on the power and drive.

With the computing power, teasing graphic elements such as a rotating globe for the navigation system or an animated fox as an avatar for the AI ​​assistant are also possible. It’s all fun, has charm and somehow suits the new Smart.

The Smart fortwo is coming back on a new platform

The Sustainable Experience Architecture supplied by Geely, i.e. the SEA platform, is also suitable. It is as flexible as the modular transverse matrix (MQB) from Volkswagen that was once celebrated by the car world. Small cars, upper mid-range vehicles and commercial vehicles between 3.5 and 5.5 tons can be placed on it. Here you can also find an indication that Geely is willing to put the Smart fortwo generation, which is currently being phased out, back into the range – on a new basis and still purely electric.

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