Brabus has given the Smart #1 430PS

05th September 2022
Ben Miles

There would be something missing if any new range of Smart cars came out without a Brabus version. Smart and Brabus have worked together for years, the German tuning house almost as well known for pint-sized Smart thrills as it is for mega-power Mercs. And now the Smart by Brabus is back. Electric, of course.


So how does a cool-looking compact five-door crossover with twin motors, all-wheel drive and around 430PS (320kW) sound? 0-62 in 3.9 seconds anyone?

It’s the Smart #1 Brabus, unveiled at the Chengdu Motor Show in China, home to Geely which owns the Smart brand half and half with Mercedes. We’re unsure if the newcomer has been tested in that traditional Brabus playground of the autobahn – the Chinese being responsible for the engineering of the #1 – but it’s still good to see a performance badge making a comeback.

Before that, however, Smart’s much-needed debut SUV has first to arrive here in the UK in any form. That should be December when the order books open for the #1 Launch Edition, and when more details of the Brabus version can be expected.


The #1 isn’t short of horsepower in standard form, a single rear-mounted motor sending 272PS (200kW) to the rear wheels, so what has Brabus done to up the ante?

The addition of a second motor up front is the big change. It takes system power to well over 400PS and tames it by sharing it between all four wheels. This is a small-ish car with the promise of kart-like agility and masses of traction. A modern-day electric Lancia Integrale? You never know.

What else has been done underneath?  Few details so far, other than the same 66kWh battery, which gives the single-motor #1 a 272-mile range, is likely to be retained.


The upgrade to Brabus level gives the smooth body shape some sporting chutzpah, adding a deeper front apron with new air intakes, red trims and new 19-inch wheels. The distinctive roof design – the main stylistic nod to Smarts of the past – is more distinctive than ever in red.

There are more red highlights inside, the inevitable Brabus branding and new materials including aluminium, Alcantara, leather and technical fabrics.

Appetite whetted? A clincher could be price. Smart #1s are tipped to begin around £32k, though the first-arriving and fully loaded Launch Edition, of which there will only be 100 for the UK, is sure to be more. If the go-faster model squeaks in under £40,000 it might just be a Brabus bargain.

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