Smart #1 BRABUS finds performance on the way to new brand identity

Away from the iconic Fortwo, into the crowded electric SUV mid-size class market: there is no question, Smart has reinvented itself. The #1 that leads this new beginning is based on the same platform as the Volvo EX30 and the Zeekr X. What can the electric car from the Geely Group do?


Wow, it’s a blast! The Smart #1 BRABUS accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. That feels close to a Tesla Model 3 Performance. In this class, 315 kW of drive power, 543 Newton meters of torque and all-wheel drive are a unique selling point. And this class, these are the compact electric cars in the C-segment: the Volkswagen ID.3, the Renault Megane E-Tech or the Peugeot e-2008. Smart wants to reinvent itself with the #1. Away from the two-seater parking space seeker, and towards a profitable entry-level brand in the Mercedes dealership.

The Smart #1 is a bit of a compact car but more closely resembles an SUV. The side windows are almost vertical, and the A-pillar is also steep. Then there’s the high roof. The impression of spaciousness is complete. However, space is tight in the trunk (313 litres) and in the frunk (15 litres). The shape of the body is idiosyncratic, a kind of mini EQB (see taillight strip and basic proportions) with playful design elements. The search for a new brand identity is palpable.

Cooperation with Geely

Mercedes produces the #1 in a joint venture with the Geely Group in China. This Smart is interesting, among other things, because the Volvo EX30 and the Zeekr X share the same technical basis: The net energy content of the traction battery is 62 kilowatt-hours. An entry-level variant with 49 kWh and LFP instead of NMC cells could perhaps follow. The LFP version can already be ordered from Volvo and costs 36,590 euros. Deliveries of the EX30 will start at the end of the year.

62 kWh in the Smart is enough for 400 kilometres in the BRABUS (our test car) and 440 kilometres in the Premium trim and Launch Edition, both of which have rear-wheel drive exclusively, according to the legal WLTP. In the mixed profile, the Smart #1 consumed 19.3 kWh/100km, which results in 321 kilometres of real-world range. It doesn’t get much less than that because the external conditions were already favourable. We were also on the highway; values around 15 kWh/100km were also readable in interurban operation. In contrast, we only succumbed to the temptation to use the engine power a few times. Nobody needs that much power, but nevertheless, it is gladly bought.

Good charging performance, preconditioning only after update

Independent of the equipment version in the Smart #1 is the charging curve. The factory specification for the hub from ten to 80 per cent is “less than 30 minutes,” and this value was achievable. Peak power is around 150 kW at DC charging stations, which is more than Volkswagen’s MEB vehicles, for example. AC-wise, the standard 22 kW charger was very pleasant.

One more note on DC charging: Smart #1 has since added true preconditioning as part of the route planner to the #1 via update. The first vehicles were still delivered without this function, so now there should be no cutbacks in the charging park even in cold weather.


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