The Smart #3 seeks the seriousness of a large car

by time news

2023-11-30 10:00:10

When a Swiss watch company and a German car manufacturer get together, it is logical to think that they are going to build an expensive, precise and, above all, serious product. Instead, what hit the market in 1998 was the Smart.

This small two-seater was designed as the rational argument for urban mobility. Short wheelbase for easy maneuvering on narrow streets and a small size for easy parking. The engine power reached 41 horsepower, which is less than the limit established by the motorcycle license.

Central European engineers did not take into account that car buyers wanted status symbols and that increasingly larger, heavier and more difficult to park cars would be sold. As such, it is estimated that Smart lost around €4 billion between 2003 and 2006.

There were several attempts to redesign the brand to reach the interests of customers, launching sports models, such as the rear-wheel drive Roadster, or the Forfour, prepared to carry four people. There was even consideration of making an SUV in Brazil, called Formore.

However, it could not be. The final decision was to sell 50% of the brand to the Chinese consortium Geely, which is also the parent company of Volvo, Polestar, Lotus and Zeekr. Their first decision was to create a five-seater electric SUV, #1, with a square and youthful design.

This could also come paired with a high-performance engine in its Brabus finish with 315 kW (422 horsepower), which allowed it to reach 100 km/h in less than four seconds.

The second installment of Smart, called #3, uses the same mechanical platform as its predecessor, but has changed its design to go from being a square SUV to a sinuous coupe SUV. It has sacrificed roof space – it is still high enough – for much more attractive curved lines for the general public.

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Smart #3.

Smart

The Smart #3 is available with two engines, the aforementioned Brabus and another 200 kW (268 HP), as well as two batteries. The first is the most affordable 49 kWh lithium-ferrophosphate, which provides 325 km of autonomy in the WLTP combined cycle, and the second, 66 kWh nickel, cobalt and manganese, which reaches up to 435 kilometers (415 in the version Brabus for the extra power).

The behavior of the #3 is decidedly sporty, with impressive acceleration. Of course, you have to be careful when stepping on the accelerator, because it is so fun that the approved consumption levels will not be reached.

Inside, there is little change with the #1: the interior remains modern and spacious, with a large screen dominating the center of the dashboard. The amount of information on the screen may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s easy to get a handle on the vehicle’s controls quickly.

The Smart #3 has five finish versions, which range, in ascending order of prices and equipment, as follows: Pro, Pro+, Premium, 25th Anniversary and Brabus. The main difference is the motor and the battery.

Orders are now open and they will reach the Spanish market at the end of this year. The rest of the European countries will receive them in 2024. The price is not yet confirmed, but in Germany, the Brabus version sells for 51,000 euros.

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