Smart is famous for its ultra-small cars, which have been owned by everyone from regular city dwellers to the ultra-rich residents of billionaires’ playgrounds like Monaco.
That’s all about to change, check out the new Smart #1 car.
The stylings have a modern twist that makes us wonder what else is in store from this quirky group.
Gone are the impossibly tiny wheel-base of the vehicle that made them famous, replaced with a – dare-we-say… conventional shape.
The brand is reinventing itself following a major investment from the Chinese automotive giant Geely in 2019 that saw it take control of 50 percent of the Mercedes-owned company.
Smart launched the production version of its latest car, the #1, last week and it’s something very different from the Smart we’ve come to expect.
The #1 is the first model of a whole new line-up of fully electric cars.
It’s squarely aimed as a rival to Volkswagen’s ID.3, another city-friendly premium electric car that’s proven to be popular and sells in big numbers across Europe.
The #1 is a small premium crossover that also will compete with the Kia Niro EV and the Renault Megane E-Tech.
The #1 is an all-new model (completely unrelated to the previous FourTwo and FourFour models), making it the first all-new design from Smart since 2014.
The Smart car has also been barely changed from the concept version we saw at the Munich Motor Show last year.
A new design for a new era
Geely will be taking care of the mechanical and engineering side of things, and Mercedes took charge of its design.
It has several features that are expected to become universal across the new incarnation of Smart, including the distinctive front light bar and ‘flying roof’ design that’s further emphasised by the two-tone colour scheme.
It also has a very impressive drag coefficient of 0.29 thanks to its smooth shape and the use of concealed door handles and an active grille shutter, something that’ll definitely help the car’s efficiency!
It’s the first car designed for the European market to use Geely’s brand new SEA electric vehicle architecture.
We already know the Smart #1 will have a 66 kWh nickel-manganese-cobalt battery that should be good for a maximum range of 439km.
It will charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in less than half an hour, thanks to 150kW rapid charging capability.
The rear-mounted electric motor is rated at 200 kW (268 hp) and 343 Nm (253 lb-ft) of torque, which will be enough for some really great acceleration for a compact car aimed at city dwellers and a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph).
A smart car interior
Smart claims the #1 has been designed to maximise the interior space as much as possible.
The result of this is a cabin with enough space inside to rival a Mercedes E-Class!
The interior design places connectivity as one of its biggest features, too.
It has a bespoke infotainment system based around a 12.8″ touchscreen, with an avatar (the launch car used a fox character, but Smart has already said that other characters will come with updates) that responds to voice commands.
The car has its own proprietary app as well that gives access to a whole raft of connected functions (including live data).
Smart claims 75 percent of the car’s ECU can be updated remotely through over-the-air updates!
Orders for the #1 are expected to start from late 2022, with deliveries happening soon after in mainland Europe and in mid-2023 in the UK.
Despite the big change and the big new investment from Geely, Smart cars will continue to be sold in Mercedes dealerships – they’ll have their own Smart spaces in the showrooms.
The only real question left is whether people who already love the Smart brand will be convinced by its new focus on a more conventionally-sized crossover…