Think of Smart and no doubt you imagine an odd little two seat city car that you kind of want to push over. Want you don't think of is a turbocharged 5 door hatch that will do 137mph and 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. Sound like the work of a completely different manufacturer? It pretty much was....
Underneath the Tridium Safety Cell and plastic panels, the ForFour shared its platform with the considerably less interesting and much cheaper Mitsubishi Colt. Engines were also shared, the Brabus featuring the same 1.5 litre 4 cylinder turbocharged engine as the Colt CZT. Where Mitsubishi claimed they could only get 148bhp and 155Ib ft of torque out of the motor, Brabus tickled the totals up to 174bhp and 170Ib ft. Although around 130kgs heavier than the CZT, the ForFour was still only 1090kgs.
Although based on humble underpinnings, Smart were asking premium prices for the ForFour Brabus. In 2005, one of these would have cost you £17,195 or more than £5000 more than the cooking ForFour. Thankfully, Brabus didn't just take care of performance.
Externally, the ForFour gained a fairly effective bodykit along with those sexy monoblock VI alloy wheels and a twin exit exhaust. Inside you could look out of the panoramic glass roof (probably wondering why they didn't make it a sunroof) sitting on standard heated leather seats enjoying the climate control and Brabus interior trim pieces. All reports seem to suggest it really did feel like a quality item that did go some way to justify the high price.
Torque dominated the driving experience with 90% of it available between 2300 & 6100rpm. This made for rapid in gear progress although at lower speeds torque steer was never too far away. Still, being a Smart it naturally had traction control that you couldn't switch off. This unwillingness to play seemed to be the car's downfall in the motoring press. When compared to greats like the Renaultsport Clio 182 the handling was inert with no real feedback from the steering wheel, apart from that it didn't like all that torque. Not that many were sold but then it wasn't like Smart sold that many normal ones either. By 2006 the ForFour was dead making the Brabus version a very rare car indeed.
From AJTaylor's blog, The Wastegate.