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The new 220 km/h smart forfour BRABUS

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June 15, 2005

The new 220 km/h smart forfour BRABUS

The new 220 km/h smart forfour BRABUS

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June 16, 2005 Up until now, the name smart has been synonymous with compact, parking-friendly, all-round clever cars that offer a particularly intelligent form of individual mobility. In fact, the underlying values – innovation, functionality and joie de vivre – of the smart brand, which has only been on the market for six years and is growing fast, mean that it has achieved a cult image in many of its markets, particularly among younger customers. Nothing’s going to change there. At Geneva Motor Show in March, smart premiered the smart forfour BRABUS and the car has just gone on sale for the first time in Germany . The BRABUS version of the four-seater forfour presented here takes smart to a totally new dimension: with a new turbo engine that delivers 130 kW / 177 bhp, a top speed of 221 km/h and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, the new smart forfour BRABUS is by far the fastest and most powerful smart that has ever been built.

It represents the “high end experience” of the four-seater, as it combines performance and luxury in a compact car in a way that has never been done before. And what’s more, it will get your pulse racing, as it has been developed for sheer driving pleasure – but without losing sight of its traditional virtues: its engine, which, when driven in a restrained manner, is elastic, quiet and economical (standard petrol consumption 6.8 l) meets the demands of Euro 4. In terms of active and passive safety, the BRABUS fulfils the famously high standards of the Mercedes Car Group, with standard features including front, side and head airbags, and with esp and high-performance disc brakes on the rear axle, too.

130 kW / 177 bhp and a kerb weight of 1,090 kilograms make for a remarkable power-weight ratio – that is, the weight of the vehicle divided by the kilowatts (or, alternatively, the bhp) of the engine: 8.4 kg per kW, or just under 6.2 kg per bhp are figures that quite a few sports cars would be proud of. It’s no surprise, then, that the smart forfour BRABUS provides for an all-round thrilling driving experience.

The kilowatts are mobilised by a four-cylinder turbo engine with 1.5 l capacity, which, despite being of a similar size, is not exactly the same as the standard engine for the smart forfour. With a grey cast iron block and an aluminium cylinder head, four-valve technology, two overhead camshafts, roller cam levers, maintenance-free hydraulic tappets and cylinder-selective injection, the engine boasts exceptionally advanced features. The air passes from the turbocharger into the combustion chambers via a charge air cooler (behind the front apron) and a cast aluminium suction bridge.

The cooling system, for example, has been redesigned, making it different from that of the standard engine. The oil-to-water heat exchanger serves, on the one hand, to heat up the oil quickly following a cold start, while on the other hand it reliably prevents the oil temperature from rising too high during long periods of motorway driving. The engine is designed for use with Super Plus (RON 98). Its anti-knock sensor means, however, that it can also be operated with normal premium-grade fuel (RON 95), with only minimally reduced performance. The engine’s control unit even has an atmospheric pressure sensor. This ensures safe, environmentally-friendly operation even at high altitudes, for example when driving through mountain passes.

Maximum power is reached at 6,000 rpm, while the highest possible torque (230 Nm) is attained at 3,500 rpm. It is testament to the elasticity of the engine that 90 per cent of the maximum tractive power is available across the whole of the range from 2,300 to 5,700 rpm.

The engine power is transferred to the transmission – which has been specially developed for this turbo engine – via an enlarged, crisply-engaging clutch. It has conventional H-gear shifting and five speeds. The stepping is such that speeds of more than 100 km/h can be reached even in second gear. Thus standard acceleration from zero to 100 km/h can be achieved with just a single gear change. However the top gear is also capable of providing powerful traction. For example, when making a spurt from 80 to 120 km/h in fifth gear, the smart forfour BRABUS can hold its own against far bigger and more powerful vehicles. Its low weight compared to other vehicles in its class is certainly a bonus here.

The more powerful drivetrain finds visible expression in a sports rear muffler with chrome-plated tail pipes. A pre-catalytic converter positioned close to the engine as well as an underfloor catalytic converter make quite sure that the Euro 4 limit values are adhered to.

Lowered suspension for even greater agility

The smart forfour BRABUS’s potential is demonstrated not least by its suspension. The front axle has been thoroughly modified, with features such as reinforced wishbones, larger supporting joints and new wheel hubs with even sturdier brake calliper brackets. The special 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres in striking 205/40 format at the front, and 225/35 at the rear.

The springs have been made 30 mm shorter at the front and 28 mm shorter at the rear, while the shock absorbers are now more rigid in both the compression and rebound stage. The brakes (internally ventilated at both front and rear) have also been boosted. The lowered suspension ensures braking stability at speeds of over 220 km/h, and precise dynamic driving on winding roads. The direct steering (as before with electric power steering) makes for yet more driving pleasure around alternating bends. But there’s no need to sacrifice comfort: the car’s agile and very sporty handling does not mean you are in for a rough ride. The abs and esp have been adapted to take into account the increased power and the various changes – especially on the front axle.

New sporty details create an even more individual appearance

Discreet modifications to the body both inside and out serve to emphasise the smart forfour BRABUS’ status as a high-performance sportster. In addition to the 17-inch alloy wheels and the lowered suspension, key features include an enlarged front spoiler, a sporty exhaust system, a rear diffuser and stylish side skirts – which can all, incidentally, be retrofitted on any smart forfour.

A feature exclusive to the smart forfour BRABUS is the two diamond mesh inserts in the front grille. A further identifying feature of the BRABUS is a roof spoiler which, aside from its visual appeal, also offers aerodynamic benefits: it reduces lift on the rear axle by 50 kilograms during travel at maximum speed, thereby lending the vehicle additional stability. At the bottom right of the tailgate, the word BRABUS appears in discreet lettering – yet another way of recognising the most powerful version of the smart forfour.

In the interior, the leather on the seats (with specially contrasting silver seams), on the instrument panel, and on the side trim creates an atmosphere befitting a premium-class vehicle. This is further enhanced by the headrests – which are also leather-covered – and the velour floor mats sporting BRABUS lettering. The silver of the leather seams also appears on numerous components in the interior – such as the lower section of the instrument panel, the gearshift lever trim, the inside door handles, the trim rings on the instruments (that have a new design with black dials), as well as on the heating and ventilation controls. Even the end caps of the indicator and windscreen wiper levers have been silver-enamelled. Also new are the aluminium gearshift knob, the hand-brake handle – likewise in aluminium – and the four-spoke sports steering wheel with its specially-shaped leather rim and silver spokes, with integrated buttons for operating the radio or radio navigation system.

BRABUS and smart are proud of the latest addition to their family – the “high end experience” of the four-seater smart forfour. This model boasts the same innovative design that characterises all smart forfour models, and the same practical advantages, such as the sliding rear bench – but with a level of performance that takes the smart forfour BRABUS way beyond the realms of its class. All this makes for a unique driving experience, and also for a distinctly luxurious atmosphere: after all, this car is a true BRABUS.

The smart forfour BRABUS costs € 24,900 in Germany. This exciting new car not only gives customers the performance potential of a sports car, but also a very extensive range of equipment including leather as standard.

Smart and BRABUS

smart models have always represented more than just a mode of transport from A to B: they are an expression of innovation and joie de vivre, of intelligence and high functionality. They have long since achieved cult status. smart owners identify with their make more so than drivers of other vehicles. It's fun to drive a smart, and the smart world is fun. This can be seen from the fact that many buyers choose to go beyond the standard equipment in order to personalise their vehicles.

This discovery resulted in the establishment of smart-BRABUS GmbH in March 2002. The aim of this company was to develop products that raised the smart range to a new dimension. A comparison might be drawn with the successful AMG models from Mercedes-Benz. Like AMG, the smart BRABUS models are also aimed at sophisticated buyers who are enthusiastic about design and technology, and who place great emphasis on individuality and the high quality of materials.

Technology and design thus also represent the main fields of activity for the developers in Bottrop, Germany. First of all they increased the performance of the 698 cc, three-cylinder engine in the smart fortwo to 55 kW / 75 bhp, and that of the smart roadster / roadster-coupé to no less than 74 kW / 101 bhp. That means that this sporty pair of roadsters can now reach top speeds of 190 and 195 km/h, without their fuel consumption or their suitability for everyday use suffering in the slightest.

For the four-seater smart forfour with the 1.5 l engine, BRABUS has developed a kit for boosting performance. This increases the standard 80 kW / 109 bhp to 90 kW / 122 bhp, while also increasing torque. The kit essentially consists of new camshafts and reinforced valve springs, together with new software for the engine electronics - and it can even be retrofitted in any smart forfour with a 1.5 l petrol engine.

The “pièce de resistance” of the engine programme is the new turbo engine for the smart forfour BRABUS, which delivers no less than 130 kW / 177 bhp. Like the standard engine, it has a capacity of 1.5 litres, but it is not quite the same. With a top speed of 221 km/h and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, it provides a driving experience like that of a sports car – though it is also entirely suitable for day-to-day use, and still consumes just 6.8 litres of fuel per 100 km, a figure in line with modern standards.

smart-BRABUS’s second main activity is the production of custom components and accessories for the vehicle body, inside and out – from front and rear spoilers to a sports steering wheel, from special wheels to a sports exhaust system, and many other details. These supplement the standard equipment to lend any smart model a dynamic, elegant appearance, and a unique one, too: for the smart forfour series alone the range of equipment, colours and materials makes more than 6,000 combinations possible. And the choice of equipment is just as big for the other models. The smart-BRABUS range even increases these figures many times over: every smart is one of a kind, tailored precisely to the customer’s wishes.

Production of the BRABUS models has been incorporated into smart’s production and distribution processes. Limited special models, however, are customised in Bottrop. These too can be ordered from smart centers, which will also take care of matters such as warranties, servicing and repairs.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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