2023 Smart #1 EV gets high-performance overhaul by Brabus

5 months, 1 week ago - 31 August 2022, autocar
2023 Smart #1 EV gets high-performance overhaul by Brabus
German tuning firm adds four-wheel drive and Tesla Model Y-rivalling performance to compact crossover

The Smart #1 Brabus has been revealed at the Chengdu motor show in China, featuring a huge boost to performance and sportier styling courtesy of the famed German tuner.

The biggest difference between the #1 Brabus and the standard #1 is the addition of a second electric motor at the front, giving the electric crossover four-wheel drive.

Partnered with the existing 268bhp motor at the rear, it boosts the total power output to 422bhp, meaning the #1 can now dispatch a 0-62mph sprint in just 3.9sec. 

That’s just behind the Tesla Model Y Performance (0-60mph in 3.5sec) and the Kia EV6 GT (0-62mph in 3.5sec). 

However, while the Model Y Performance and EV6 GT start north of £60,000, the #1 Brabus will launch at ¥279,000 (£34,500) in China. Although Smart is yet to detail UK pricing for the Brabus, it’s expected to be significantly more affordable than other high-performance EVs.

The #1 Brabus retains the standard car’s 66kWh nickel-manganese-cobalt battery, which provides an official 273-mile range. This is likely to be reduced in the Brabus, given its higher power output and additional driven wheels.

The car’s charging capabilities also remain unchanged, at 400V and 150kW, meaning a 10-80% top-up should take less than half an hour at the maximum rate.

Autocar previously reported that Smart wasn't considering an 800V electrical architecture for the #1 because “the 800V network in Europe isn't very established,” according to Yifeng Tan, its head of connected cars and products. However, the Geely SEA platform (on which the #1 is based) can host the hardware – and indeed does in the Chinese-market Zeekr 001 shooting brake.

Every #1 Brabus will get more aggressive styling with exclusive 19in alloy wheels and the matt-grey, red and black livery pictured.

Inside it gets red stitching on the seats and the steering wheel, plus additional accents on the headrests, dashboard and centre console. 

UK order books for the #1 Brabus are expected to open after the launch of the regular #1 in 2023.

Smart also confirmed in its Chengdu show that it will launch two new cars for export markets over the next two years, but it didn't reveal any further details about what form they might take or where they might be sold.

Brabus recently revealed an aerodynamics package for the Mercedes-Benz EQS electric limousine that boosted its range by 7% (32 miles in EQS 450+ specification), hinting at an increased interest in EVs from the firm.

It has been fettling EVs since 2008, when it unveiled cosmetic alterations for the original Tesla Roadster.

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