smart #1 Brabus Test Drive: Truly 0-Walao in 3.9 Seconds!
October 14, 2023 Andrew Cheng

Apologies for the bit of Manglish in the headline – “walao” translates to “wow,” if you’re wondering – but that really is an apt description for the blisteringly fast smart #1 Brabus EV. Packing 428PS and 543Nm of torque out of its dual motor AWD powertrain, the electric crossover can go from 0-100kmph in only 3.9 seconds.

The fact that you can get this level of performance out of a car that’s estimated to go for RM250,000 in Malaysia is certainly, undoubtedly, a very enticing proposition for folks who want a powerful EV for the money. If your interest is piqued, here’s my impressions of the smart #1 Brabus after an hour-long test drive!

Compared to its Pro and Premium siblings, which get a single motor (272PS/343Nm) driving the rear wheels, the smart #1 Brabus’ power output is the biggest differentiator. To be specific, the difference is 156PS and 200Nm of torque, which is quite a big gap in performance.

But the higher-powered Brabus model also gets slightly less range as a result. Though it features the same 66kWh battery as the Premium model, it has a lower range of up to 400km on the WLTP cycle compared to 440km on the aforementioned Premium trim. Of course, this is still a respectable range, in my opinion.

Now, for a crossover with so much power on demand, the #1 Brabus doesn’t feel intimidating to drive at all, which is honestly quite a surprise to me. I can still easily manage the throttle for a comfortable, sedate ride, even when I set the drive mode to – get this – Brabus.

In the Brabus drive mode, AWD is engaged at all times, so I can tap into the #1 Brabus’ full power output. And boy, with the throttle pedal fully depressed, the EV absolutely flies. Even when I was going at about 100kmph, the car can still push me back into the seat by a good amount when I accelerate!

The only problem I had in my one-hour test drive is not having enough road to continue accelerating with the #1 Brabus.

Raw performance aside, I also managed to test out the #1 Brabus’ ADAS when my spirited driving spree was abruptly interrupted by traffic jams. The electric crossover is said to feature level 2+ semi-autonomous driving, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, highway assist, and even lane change assist.

Compared to other ADAS I’ve tested on more affordable cars, the #1 Brabus’ definitely feels like a step above. Not only can it keep the EV centred in the lane in various speeds – even in crawling traffic – it can negotiate bends very competently too with minimal steering input from myself.

That being said, the ADAS keeps its distance from the lead car a tad too much for my liking. Given that some Malaysian drivers can be a bit…impatient, this leaves more than enough gap for other cars to cut into the lane. To be fair, most ADAS does leave a conservative distance from the lead car for safety reasons.

Interior wise, the #1 Brabus’ cabin is a comfortable place to be in; very much appreciated when I was stuck in the aforementioned traffic jams. The suede seats and alcantara/leather-wrapped steering wheel feel very premium, as it should be for an EV at this price point, and there are plenty of storage compartments to store various items.

I’m quite a fan of the large 12.8-inch infotainment display as well. While I find the home screen is a bit too busy-looking – though I do like the fox virtual assistant that’s perpetually on the bottom left corner of the interface – I can always connect my iPhone or Android phone to the screen for wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Oh, there’s also a wireless charger, of course.

The smart #1 Brabus definitely left a lasting impression on me, even though I only drove it for about an hour or so. Not only is it ridiculously fast, it also feels well put together with premium touches throughout. This comes as no surprise, given that the EV is designed by Mercedes-Benz and built by Geely – two big names in the automotive scene.

All that’s left now is for smart to reveal the exact Malaysian pricing of the #1 Brabus. The company previously mentioned that the whole smart #1 lineup will retail from RM200,000 to RM250,000 on our shores, and given that the Brabus version is the range-topping model, we can expect it to retail around the RM250,000 mark.

If you want to check out the smart #1 Brabus, as well as the Pro and Premium models ahead of their Malaysian debuts sometime this quarter, you can do so at Menara Affin TRX until 6PM today (14 October). You can also test drive the #1 Brabus for yourself!