Cars (sort of) in the wild: The Mercedes/Smart tuned by Brabus.
Most of you are familiar with the
abominations modified super cars special projects that come from the Brabus tuning house.
This is one of their more tame offerings, and an entertaining one, at that. Nestled up back over the rear axle, the 1.0-liter turbo engine receives added boost pressure and a more free-flowing exhaust, while torque increases from 88 to a more muscular 103 lb/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.
Car-reviewer-speak aside, it is a hilarious car outside of a major European metropolis. While incongruous, it was nice to see one, and it’s one more automotive oddity I can check off the list. Cheers.