There’s something I genuinely love about the Brabus-ified Smart ForTwos. The very idea of a tuning company squeezing the most performance they can out of a tiny city car encapsulates the grand ridiculousness that is exactly what I love about cars. This latest microbeast looks pretty great, too, and is a solid 1/11th as potent as a Bugatti Veyron.
Sure, 107 HP (at 4750 RPM) isn’t much by modern standards, but in a car the size of the Smart it’s not bad at all, and it’s more impressive when you realize Brabus is getting that out of an 898cc turbo-three that normally makes 89 HP.
That’s, what, 18 HP more than stock, about 20%, and they’re getting 125 lb-ft (89.2 Nrp) of torque, 25 more (and 25%) than the usual 100. That’s impressive, especially from a sub one-liter engine. For comparison, it’s 17 more horses than a Porsche 356 made in 1965. It’s not huge, but in this car, it’s enough to have some fun.
Weirdly, the Brabus version isn’t offered with a manual transmission, only the six-speed dual clutch auto. It’s a way better auto than Smart used to be stuck with, and Brabus has tweaked it to shift even faster, but this car would just simply be more fun with a manual.
The regular one certainly is, and even if the robo-shifter technically can do it a bit faster, who gives a shit? You’d be crazy (bad way) to buy this for the raw numbers; but you’d be crazy (good way) to buy this to have some fun, and a manual would help with that.
Brabus says the car will get from snoozing to 62 MPH in 9.5 seconds, and top speed is a governed 103 MPH. I’m guessing ungoverned gets you about, oh, Mach 2.
Brabus stiffened the suspension and gave it better wheels and tires and other bits so your screaming Smart will remain on the road. Here’s how the detail it in their press release:
- The springing/damping of the BRABUS Performance sports suspension are 20 percent firmer than the BRABUS sports suspension, with the anti-roll bar on the front axle reducing the roll tendency by 9%, while the ESP® has been specially adapted.
- The sports-tuned Direct-Steer system with speed-sensitive power assistance and variable steering ratio comes with a specially increased return torque for the smart BRABUS. This means that the steering gives even stronger feedback on the current grip status of the tyres, thereby improving the communication between driver and vehicle. This allows better control over the vehicle while making for enhanced driving enjoyment.
- With an up to 40 percent faster response time and shorter-legged ratios than in the 66 kW model, the twinamic 6-speed dual-clutch transmission is configured for sporty performance. It also features a Race Start function, which automatically sets the optimal rpm and clutch slip for maximum acceleration from rest. To use the Race Start function, the driver simply needs to release the brake pedal after previously depressing it and flooring the accelerator.
- The BRABUS sport exhaust system has been optimised in terms of back-pressure.
The sporty top models of the latest smart generation stand out visually through their matt grey rear diffuser insert with chrome-look tailpipe trims as well as their grey, high-sheen and matt painted BRABUS Monoblock IX light-alloy wheels. The smart fortwo comes with Yokohama sports tyres of size 185/50 R 16 H (front) and 205/40 R 17 H (rear). The smart forfour is shod with 185/45 R 17 H (front) and 205/40 R 17 H (rear). All smart BRABUS models come as standard with a lockable glove compartment, the Cool & Audio package and the proximity warning function. The smart BRABUS fortwo coupé and forfour also sport a panoramic roof ex factory.
A lockable glove compartment? Holy shit, are they kidding? Think of the valuables I could stash in there! My eggsalad recipe! That kidney stone my grandpa swears was from Josef Stalin! My Talmud signed by the Ramones!
Of course, in the US we won’t get the longer, four-door ForFour, but I won’t lie, I’m pretty excited by the new Brabus ForTwo. I actually found the stock ForTwo a pretty decent little car, for the job it does, and my biggest complaint was that the stubby little rear-engined car felt a little too restricted and tamed.
Maybe the Brabus version is just what this little kook needed. I hope they tweaked the ESP settings to allow just a touch of oversteer, to, you know, keep things interesting.
I’m looking forward to trying one of these out. I mean, it and the Porsche 911 are the only performance-oriented rear-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles you can get in America today, period. That’s something right there. Patrick, if you’re reading this, if Brabus has a launch even with some track time in one of these, I call dibs.