Bernie's Test Drive: 2009 Smart Brabus Coupe and Cabriolet

Apr 8, 2010

I was invited to the Smart Car Dealership in Buckhead to burn rubber in a Smart Car… or two.

(Best place to do a photo shoot in New York, in Dumbo, Brooklyn)

I’m gonna talk specs first, then I’ll tell you’se about my test drive.

Height and Width is 5.1 feet, and the length 8.8 feet.
One liter, three Cylinder engine with 70 horsepower. 70!!!!!!!! (I get almost 4 times that)
Gas Mileage- 33 City, 41+ highway (with three cylinders and no horsepower, you would get great mileage)
Top Speed- 90 mph (I drive that on GA 400)
0-60- 12.8 seconds
The 15 inch rims are standard.

Before I jumped into them, at the dealership, they tell you about them like the safety ratings, etc. There’s 2.5 cars in the show room, the half is the metal shell where they show you how safe the car is. The shell of the car is made of steel, the other parts (i.e. doors, etc) are made of plastic. I’m getting to that. They have a “Sandwich Construction” on the front and back of the vehicle, which are three pieces of steel in the front and the rear of the vehicles. The purpose of those is that when you have a high impact accident, it somewhat reduces the damage. My Mom’s Mercury Villager could have used some Sandwich Construction. Anyway, the vehicle has four airbags: 2 front full-sized airbags and two side airbags.

Time for me to jump in. I test drove the two most expensive models: The Smart fortwo Brabus coupe and the Smart fortwo Brabus Cabriolet (convertible). The Coupe had what every normal car has, plus panoramic roof, and something a little different. All Smart vehicles don’t have either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission, no they decided to combine the two. You can shift to automatic or manual and it comes standard in all the vehicles. Even if you drive in automatic, it still feels like manual because when you accelerate, it shifts. When you drive at “10 and 2” (the last time I did that was in driver’s ed… back on Long Island), you have to be careful cause you can easily knock it into manual. But if you are a manual-ista, they dumbed it down for you because the car will tell you what gear to shift it in. you don’t have to listen for anything, just look at the dashboard. Alas, I don’t do manual.

The Cabriolet was the same as the coupe, the only difference was that you don’t have to be in the car to take off the soft top, just hold down the button on the key. There’s removable roof parts, storage compartment for whatever you take off the car, and the radio has a 6 disc changer, instead of the single disc changer that the coupe has.

What I didn’t like: The fact that there’s no such thing as the vehicle being 100% automatic is a PROBLEM. Okay, I DRIVE… That’s obvious because my 2003 Envoy has a 160,700 miles (as of April 7th), he’s been from New York down to Florida, back and forth from Atlanta to Savannah, has ventured into Louisville and I’m going to Memphis in a week and a half. The Smart Car would not be a smart car to drive in New York and certain parts of Atlanta because it takes too long for it to get up and go, even in Automatic. I also didn’t like the lack of trunk space. Not only do I drive, but I shop as well as carry photography equipment.

These people didn't know any better, and who knows how many people cursed them out.

Don’t get me wrong, the Smart Car is a fun car… It’s actually the easiest car to customize, and here’s why. The frame of the vehicle may be made of steel, but the doors, roof parts are made of plastic. Very interchangeable, so you can have several different color combinations to it. And also, because of the technical aspects of the vehicle, you only have to get your oil changed once a year….

Honestly, I think the Smart Car will make a hot golf cart, especially in Catalina, California where there’s only golf carts and about 3 cars.

Sorry for the long post, but you know…

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