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First look: Brabus waves wand over new ForTwo

Smarter: Wildest ForTwo yet offers 72kW - up 10kW.

Brabus-tweaked high-performance Smart is not certain for Australia

Smart logo4 Sep 2007

A HOT new version of the tiny new Smart ForTwo developed by German tuning firm Brabus has been launched in Europe, but is not headed for Australia – at least for now.

With the new ForTwo model range not slated for local release until the first quarter of next year, DaimlerChrysler Australia has not yet considered a product plan for the high-performance version.

However, the relative success of last year’s Brabus version of the discontinued ForFour ensures that the company is viewing this latest model with some interest, especially as right-hand drive production has been confirmed for the British market.

Previewed at the Geneva motor show in March, the Smart ForTwo Brabus is based on the regular version of the German micro-car, the second generation of which was first revealed late last year and officially introduced in Europe earlier this year.

Employing the Mitsubishi-developed 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine that is destined to join the regular Australian model line-up (in addition to the current 45kW 0.7-litre turbo unit) from next year, the Brabus is pumped up to produce 72kW of power at 5500rpm compared with the standard car’s 62kW.

With a maximum of 140Nm of torque at 3500rpm, the Brabus accelerates from 0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 155km/h, yet uses just 5.2L/100km.

Brabus has worked with the transmission and suspension settings to provide a sportier drive, and added big alloy wheels and tyres (175/50 R16 at the front and 225/35 R17 at the rear) as well as a sports exhaust system with dual tailpipes that exit from the centre of a sportier rear apron.

37 center imageSitting 10mm lower than the standard car, the Brabus (available as both a coupe and cabriolet) also sports wider wheel arches to cover those big wheels.

Inside are unique instrumentation, stainless steel sports pedals, a panoramic sunroof with a sunblind and a leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles.

A more upmarket ‘Xclusive’ model additionally features projection headlights with titanium-coloured surrounds, body-coloured front spoiler with bigger air inlets, side skirts and different rear apron, heated leather-upholstered seats and side airbags.

“At this stage we don’t know (if it will come here) because we will not launch the new model until the first quarter next year,” said spokesman David McCarthy.

“We’ve had no serious discussions at this point about availability even. It hasn’t come up on the radar as such. I’m sure we will look at it, but it will not be at launch.” Although the less-powerful first-generation ForTwo Brabus was not sold in Australia, a batch of more than 50 of the bigger ForFour Brabus models were sold here last year, powered by a 130kW/230Nm 1.5-litre turbo and priced at $40,000.

Smart has priced the Brabus from about $27,500 for the coupe and $32,500 for the cabriolet in Europe.

The new Smart ForTwo is slightly bigger than the outgoing car, being 200mm longer, 90mm wider and sitting on a 60mm longer wheelbase. The luggage room has increased from 150 litres to 220 litres.

As well as having the bigger engine for the first time, the new Smart will again come to Australia in coupe and cabriolet body styles, and will be available in two specification levels.

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