Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Smart sting to final fling

THE condemned Smart Forfour is going out with a bang. Smart has announced it will kill off the four-seater hatch that stands out in a crowd with its plastic panels and unique style.

But the decision to end the production of the Forfour came after German tuning house Brabus had its way with the car.

Only 50 of the Forfour Brabus cars have come to Australia, with a hefty $39,990 price.

Smart is better known for tiny city cars that are both light on petrol and driving thrills.

But the Brabus uses a turbocharger with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to smash any pre-conceptions.

The super Smart is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder that pumps out 130kW when the turbo is spinning and 230Nm of torque.

That's enough herb and spice to sling the 1090kg Forfour from 0-100km/h in only 6.9 seconds.

Though most new turbo engines have a smooth powerband spread through the rev range, the Brabus Smart is decidedly sluggish down low, but goes on to unleash a brutal rush of power when the tacho spins past 2500 revs.

It might go against the new turbo trend, but the Smart's power delivery is a lot of fun, accentuating how much poke the car really has.

The turbo fun also comes at a reasonably low cost, because the official fuel economy figure for 100km of mixed highway and city driving is only 6.8 litres.

The boosted front-wheel drive is fitted with traction control to try to tame the engine. The traction system tries hard to react quickly enough, but you still have to be careful feeding on the power in slippery conditions.

The Brabus could do with a limited-slip differential, which quickly switches power across the front axle for the best possible traction, because it tends to lift the inside wheel and spin coming out of tight turns.

The Brabus ride height has been lowered by 30mm, the suspension is much stiffer and it runs on big 17-inch alloy wheels that look great.

The harder suspension is designed to help the Brabus car sit flat in turns and Smart says ride comfort has not been sacrificed.

"The car's agile and very sporty handling does not mean you are in for a rough ride," reads a Smart statement.

Sorry, Smart. That simply isn't true. Few cars have a ride as harsh as the Brabus Forfour's.

It's fine on smooth roads, but crashes and thumps over bumps and potholes with such severity that you soon tire of it.

The interior has plenty of standard equipment, including a big sunroof.

Heated seats, trimmed in nice leather, are also appreciated on freezing Melbourne mornings.

There are extra dashboard gauges, an aluminium gearknob, new instrument cluster and a thick leather sports steering wheel.

The Brabus Forfour is available with a five-speed manual gearbox only.

It is quite a slick shifter, but an extra gear would be nice to stop the engine buzzing at highway speeds.

The Brabus also misses out on cruise control, which should be standard on a $40,000 car.

Exterior details including the six-spoke alloy wheels, twin-pipe exhaust, body kit and Brabus-branded engine rocker cover also help the special Smart stand out from standard models.

The Forfour has a reasonable amount of interior room, given its size, and has some intelligent features, including a rear seat bench that can slide back and forth.

View cars for sale