The demand for superminis in electric avatars is ramping up, especially after BMW introduced its all-electric Mini Cooper SE. Now it looks like Mercedes Benz doesn’t want to miss out on the trend either, which is why it is bringing its ‘lifestyle compact car’ brand to Malaysia. This will be a premium electric vehicle brand and its first product will be a compact SUV. Called the Smart #1 (pronounced as hashtag one), this SUV offers a radical design along with incredible performance on the road. Additionally, Brabus Malaysia will offer a more powerful version of the same with 422hp.
A few months ago, the company had given us a glimpse of the first models coming to the market in an official photo shared by Smart. The front fascia revealed the Smart #1 compact SUV launching with a capacity to seat four people, similar to a Mini Countryman. Additionally, the second car in the picture, while in camouflage, had given us enough information to help us figure out what it was – Smart will be bringing a beefed-up Brabus variant of Smart #1.
Now, Smart has revealed the prices for the Brabus EV SUV and we honestly can’t contain our excitement. Scroll on for all the details.
Smart #1: What we know about it
Although Smart #1 wears the ‘Smart’ badge, it isn’t technically a Smart car. The car was developed as part of a joint venture between Germany’s Mercedes and China’s Geely. Yes, the same Geely that owns Volvo today. In fact, the Smart #1 was developed largely by Geely and hence, unlike traditional Smart cars, this one is a proper car with four seats.
Built on Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture, the Smart #1, with a wheelbase measuring 2,750mm, should provide enough room for four. The standard model comes with a rear-wheel drive configuration only whereas the Brabus-tweaked performance variant sends power to all four wheels.
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In Malaysia, the Smart #1 has two variants based on a single electric motor platform rated to make 268hp and 343Nm of torque. This setup is enough to push the Smart #1 from 0-100 kph in under 6.7 seconds and you can even push it to a top speed of 180 kph. If that’s not enough, the Smart #1 Brabus edition, with its dual-motor and an AWD setup, should satisfy your need for speed. Thanks to 422hp and 543Nm of torque, the Brabus edition can accelerate from 0-100 kph in 3.9 seconds. That’s even faster than some of today’s sports cars!
Both versions of the Smart #1 rely on a 66kWh NMW battery, which claims to offer a range of up to 440km on the Premium model and a slightly lesser 420km on the base Pro variant. The Brabus edition can only go up to 400km owing to the extra performance it offers. The company says that the SUV supports 22kW of AC fast charging, which will fill the battery to 80 per cent charge from nought in under three hours. A faster DC charger can do a full top-up in under 30 minutes.
Smart has also worked hard on aerodynamics efficiency. The #1 has an active grille shutter at the front and flat-faced 19-inch wheels to reduce the drag coefficient to 0.29. This should help with better power efficiency while driving at higher speeds.
Smart #1’s exteriors are simple yet unique
From the outside, the Smart #1 looks simple yet unique in a sea of fancy-looking compact SUVs. The front features a full-width LED headlamp setup that is expected to become the design theme of future Smart vehicles. The sides feature a large glasshouse area, which should provide better visibility. The rear continues the same design theme with wraparound LED taillamps. The floating roof concept isn’t new to compact cars and SUVs but the designers have used some character lines to make it stand out, especially on the Brabus variant with contrasting colours. When you also factor in the frameless doors, Smart #1 could be an attention grabber on the streets.
The interiors are… smart (apologies for the pun)
As is the norm with premium compact cars and SUVs these days, the Smart #1 has funky yet minimalist interiors to flaunt. The pill-shaped dashboard looks cool and flows into a ‘floating’ centre console. While the 12.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system stands out in the cabin, it is the slim all-digital 9.2-inch instrument console that gets our attention. Most of the cabin controls are also accessible from the display. Eagle-eyed car enthusiasts may also draw comparisons to the last-gen Mercedes sedans.
The rest of the feature set includes a 10-inch heads-up display, a panoramic glass roof, park assist, sliding rear seats and a 13-speaker Beats audio system.
Smart #1’s price in Malaysia: How much does it cost?
The Smart #1 lineup will have three variants that sit within a price range of MYR 200,000 to MYR 250,000. While we will still have to wait for the exact variant pricing, the no-frills Smart #1 Pro could most likely be the variant carrying a sticker price of MYR 200,000.
When is the Smart #1 Brabus launching?
As of now, the estimated launch timeline for the Smart brand in Malaysia is said to be in the fourth quarter of 2023. However, Pro-Net, the company obtaining the license to sell Smart cars in Malaysia, hints at a launch window “before the end of 2023”.
(Hero and Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Smart)