Bravo Smart Brabus - pocket rocket gives miles of smiles
PUBLISHED: 08:16 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:16 15 December 2016
It's a pocket rocket with a grown-up price tag but the ultra small Smart Fortwo Brabus Xclusive cabrio gave motoring editor Andy Russell a great big grin.
It’s said that good things come in little packages – take the diminutive pocket rocket that is the new Smart Brabus.
At just over 2.7m long, with a kerb weight of 820kg and packing a new 109hp version of the turbo charged 898cc petrol triple, the latest range-topping Brabus is a little cracker.
I’d never driven a Smart car so, if you’re going to start somewhere, start at the top… I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in a small car but this range-topping Fortwo Brabus Xclusive cabrio is an eye-watering £21,630.
The most extreme Smart car, with Brabus performance sports suspension, was not the bone-shaker I was expecting. Even with 16in front and 17in rear wheels with fatter tyres, and the tiny amount of space it takes up on the road, the ride was remarkably refined and this little car feels grown up. I’ve driven premium sports cars that feel more choppy than this Smart.
It’s like driving a go-kart… but with suspension! You’re in direct contact with the road, with feedback heightening all the senses, but it’s such a pure and pleasant experience which makes it brilliant to drive.
The little powerplant has all the fizz of a firework, a characterful thrummy triple engine note and eagerness to rev freely making it feel quicker than the figures suggest. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission takes the strain out of urban driving but keep the engine spinning shifting with the flappy paddles and you’ll be grinning ear to ear.
It’s more like a motorbike in the way you use the transmission to get the car in the right gear to keep it balanced and ready to power on again. With its flat cornering stance, you just carry the speed through the twists and turns.
I was driving the two-seater, the ForFour doubles that, but many sports cars could learn from the clever, spacious packing of this Smart. There’s enough room to make long hauls a happy experience, and the dashboard is pushed well forward on the passenger side to maximise the millimetres.
You’ll have to travel light as the 220-litre boot – 340 loaded to the soft-top roof – is like a letterbox so it’s soft bags and slim holdalls but with some careful, clever packing you can slot a lot.
At the wheel I just love the rev counter and clock set on top of the fascia which is dominated by a speedometer. Not so appealing, especially given the price, is an abundance of hard plastics inside the cabin.
The soft-top roof also won favour with this motorcyclist – press the button once and the top folds back, leaving door frames in place. Press it again and it folds right down for the full open-top experience but the rear view is limited.
This range-topping Brabus cabrio is the ultimate toy and one you’ll thoroughly enjoy playing with.