Smart ForFour 2006 Review
August 5, 2006
$2,640 - $4,070
That's because DaimlerChrysler has decided to pull the pin on the ForFour, to concentrate on production of the tiny but successful ForTwo - the odd two-seater that's such a common sight in Europe.
The decision leaves the Brabus as not only the last of its kind, but also the fastest, best equipped and most desirable edition.
Released in Australia at the end of 2004, the four-seat ForFour shares a platform with Mitsubishi's Colt which has just coincidentally released its own turbocharged Ralliart model.
After driving the Brabus-tuned model, however, we reckon the Smart would eat the Colt for breakfast.
The heart of the matter is a turbocharged 1.5-litre four cylinder engine that delivers 130kW of power at 6000rpm and 230Nm of torque at 3500rpm, compared to the standard car's 80kW.
That's 60 per cent more power than the 1.5-litre model and gives the car a power to weight ratio of 8.4kg per kW.
Weighing in at just 1090kg, the Brabus can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 221km/h.
Yet Smart claims the car uses just 6.8 litres of fuel per 100km - albeit the pricey 98 grade stuff.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard and delivers strident performance across the rev range.
Keep the engine on the boil and there is little or no turbo lag, with strong mid-range acceleration.
The Brabus rides low with shortened springs front and back and chunky 17-inch alloys with Michelin 205/40s front and 225/35s down the back.
It cuts a lean, purposeful figure with its larger front spoiler, chrome double tailpipes, rear diffuser and stylish side skirts.
Two mesh inserts in the radiator grille are also exclusive to Brabus along with a roof spoiler that reduces lift on the rear axle by 50kg at top speed.
Standard features include four airbags, leather upholstery and a panoramic glass roof.
It's an exciting package but at $39,900 plus on roads the Smart ForFour Brabus is a bit on the "exey" side and therein lies the problem.
For the same money, you could buy a Golf GTi or for that matter Mazda's excellent Mazda3 MPS, both of which offer substantially more car for your doe.
For those wanting something a little different, however, the Brabus has much to offer.
Smart is DaimlerChrysler's cheaper line of cars much the same as BMW builds and markets the Mini.
Both cars are aimed at younger buyers and the ForFour is not unlike the Mini in many respects, with a wheel at each corner and go kart-like handling.
The Smart can be a bit of a handful in the wet, with quite a bit of torque steer under hard acceleration, despite the addition of traction and electronic stability control.
In the dry its a ball to drive and has the ability to give larger, more fancied marques a real hurry up.
Although Smart claim 6.8 litres for fuel consumption, we averaged closer to 10.0 litres/ 100km during testing.
$2,640 - $4,070