The Smart Fortwo is a unique proposition. Its emotional appeal is unquestionable and it is one of the most novel and innovative cars available.
What is it?
Smart is ramping up the appeal of its second-generation ForTwo with a new top-of-the-range Brabus model in a bid to tempt the increasing number of us looking for a dedicated city car.
As with the first-generation model, this latest Brabus take on the ForTwo brings all the hallmarks of the illustrious German tuning company – aggressive good looks, a more opulent interior, added performance and improved roadholding.
What's it like?
It's as much fun as it sounds, although the modifications add some 20 per cent to the price of the Smart ForTwo Passion.
Nestled up back over the rear axle, the 1.0-litre turbo engine receives added boost pressure and a more free-flowing exhaust, while torque increases from 88bhp to a more muscular 103lb ft at 3500rpm.
The revised output gives the two-seater surprisingly spritely acceleration. Smart quotes a 0-62mph time of 9.9sec, but with a underlying growl to the exhaust note and some stirring wastegate whistle on upshifts it feels faster. But it’s the extra torque that really makes its presence felt from standstill and by providing improved in-gear shove. Happily, it all comes without great detriment to fuel consumption, which is put at almost 55mpg.
Allied to the more powerful engine is the reworked suspension, which provides firmer springs and dampers, as well as larger anti-roll bars. Together, it provides the top-of-the-line Smart with a tauter handling, although the steering remains disappointingly slow at a long-winded 3.4 turns lock to lock.
Should I buy one?
This Brabus reworking mightn’t appear much, but it is a distinct improvement, offering improved dynamics and performance while retaining the tiny two-seater’s manoeuvrability and charm.
Had Smart included the upcoming stop-start system, to be offered on standard models from October, to get its CO2 rating under the 120g/km figure at which London’s C-charge kicks in, the Smart Brabus would have been a more justifiable option.