Smart’s new electric crossover is getting a hot flagship model courtesy of tuning company Brabus.
The 2023 Smart #1 Brabus Performance Version has been revealed at the Chengdu motor show.
It’s priced at ¥279,000 ($A58,891) in China, which is around ¥89,000 ($A18,786) more expensive than the entry-level model. It’s unclear if this model will be sold outside of China.
Powering the #1 Brabus is a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup producing total system outputs of 315kW of power and 543Nm of torque – up 115kW and 200Nm on the regular, single-motor version.
Smart claims the #1 Brabus can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.9 seconds.
Although Smart doesn’t mention battery specifications, it’s understood the #1 Brabus is equipped with the same 66kWh nickel-cobalt-manganese battery as the regular model.
If this is the case, it would likely have less range the regular #1 which has a claimed 420km according to WLTP testing.
Smart says by “rearranging the design” of the #1 Brabus, it has a 50:50 weight ratio.
It also has front McPherson and rear five-link independent suspension.
The Smart #1 Brabus has a number of sporty exterior additions such as air ducts on the bonnet, different 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as red accents on the lower air intake, side mirrors, roof and brake calipers.
Interestingly there’s no obvious Brabus badging on the exterior of the hot #1.
Inside, however, there’s large ‘B’ insignia embossed into the front seat headrests, along with Brabus written out at the base of the steering wheel.
The red-accented theme continues in the cabin with red stitching on the steering wheel and seats, red seatbelts, and red oval elements on the side of the front seat headrests.
The Smart #1 Brabus has four driving modes with two different simulated sounds that “stimulate the desire to drive”.
The “Smart Original Sound” is sampled from past Smart Brabus internal-combustion models, and the “Classic Analogue Sound” is inspired by an “amazingly powerful V6 engine”.
This simulated engine sound is pumped through a 13-speaker Beats sound system.
Smart says Chinese deliveries of the regular #1 are expected to start in September, with Europe to follow soon after in early 2023.
Smart previously confirmed its upcoming range of Chinese-built models will all feature a hashtag followed by a number, which it says is “evocative of trendsetting in the digital era”.
Smart was founded in 1994 as a joint venture between Daimler and watch maker Swatch.
As development costs rose for the brand’s first car, the Smart Coupe, Daimler took a majority stake and then full ownership of the brand.
Since its inception, Smart has struggled to make a profit, and in 2019 Geely bought a 50 per cent stake.
As part of the joint venture, Smart’s new vehicles are designed by Mercedes-Benz and engineered by Geely. They’ll also be built by Geely in China, and exported around the world.
Smart’s original factory in Hambach, France has been sold to chemical firm Ineos, which is starting to build its rugged Grenadier there.
Smart left Australia in 2015 before the third-generation ForTwo could be launched locally. There are no current plans for Mercedes-Benz Australia to reintroduce the brand.
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