This time again smart gave me a pre-production car. So small things are still being improved, but in general it already corresponds to the production version of the smart #3 and definitely gives a very detailed look at the #3, which will be delivered to the first German customers starting in January.
At this point I would like to say a big thank you again to Wolfgang Ufer from smart Germany, who made it possible that I was the first to try out the smart #3 on my local roads for several days.
Features and relationship to the smart #1
From the outside you can clearly see the difference between the smart #1 and #3, even though both are 5-door cars based on the same platform. The smart #3 is slightly flatter, longer and wider than the smart #1.
The rear falls more elegantly than on the #1 and the wheelbase is also slightly longer. Apart from that, you have the same technical key data as the #1:
Depending on the equipment, the smallest version has a 49 kWh battery with 130 kW via CCS and 7.2 kW via Type 2 and from the first equipment line onwards a 66 kWh battery with CCS with 150 kW and Type 2 with 22 kW. In addition, all variants have a 200 kW motor on the rear axle. The all-wheel drive version that I drove also has a 115 kW motor on the front axle.
In terms of equipment, my smart BRABUS #3 was the counterpart to my own smart BRABUS #1 and therefore it was particularly exciting for me to compare the two. My smart BRABUS #1 manages a real 300 km on the highway, the #3 drive a little further with the same driving style.
Smart offers a 12.8" central display and 9.2" HD speedometer display in all equipment lines. From the Premium line onwards you also get a 10" head-up display. The software in the #3 is the same as that of the smart #1, but with a cheetah instead of the fox. In the smart #1 it is a fox because it is #1 is a smart little guy. In #3 it's the cheetah, because the #3 is even faster than the #1. More on that later. What the #3 doesn't has is an electric sun blind. The glass roof is tinted, but you are never in the shadow of a sun blind.
In all equipment variants you can also book with a removable trailer hitch with a trailer load of 1.6 tonnes. It can also be retrofitted later.
The software of the smart #3
The #3 also comes directly with smartOS 1.3.0, so bugs that were known in the beginning of the #1 are gone from day one with the #3. Further improvements are also coming via OTA updates approximately every month, as is already the case with the smart #1. Along with the updates come new features, for example Apple CarPlay and Android Auto came with smartOS 1.3.0.
In general, the interface is kept nice and clear. You have a quick selection of apps in the bar at the top and a few physical buttons on the steering wheel, for example to be able to control the smart Pilot. The display itself can be operated using quite intuitive gestures, as is usual with an iPhone or a Tesla, and this allows you to access the various menus.
There is a AppStore, which already has a small selection of apps, for example the BeachBuggy Racer, which some people already know from Tesla. When it comes to music, you can also choose whether you want to use a classic radio or link your Spotify account to the car. Thanks to the Beats sound system from the Premium line onwards, you have a very pleasant sound system in your car. And unlike other Beats systems, this is not too bass-heavy.
Apart from that, there's actually everything else you could expect. Navi, settings for all sorts of things and also an overview of the cabin temperature and all of these things.
The fox in the smart #1 already raised many eyebrows, and there are of course corresponding reactions to the cheetah in the smart #3. It accompanies you through the interface and alerts you to the danger of black ice, for example. However, it is not nearly as intrusive as many fear. If you are in the navigation system, the music or another view, there is no fox distracting you. It is only permanently present on the home screen and moves back and forth there a bit.
I was a bit skeptical at my first ride with the #1 over a year ago and was worried that it might distract me. But after about 14,000 km with my smart #1, I can clearly confirm to you: smart has found a wonderful balance between playful, serious and suitable for everyday use.
How does the smart #3 drive?
The smart #1 is already extremely comfortable to drive and has got a rather good insolation, so it's very silent. It absorbs cobblestones roads well and doesn't cause a fuss in the interior. The smart #3 is a little sportier, but still very comfortable. Maybe a little better on the highway thanks to the slightly longer wheelbase. In general, at first glance you hardly notice any difference to the smart #1 when driving.
The only thing you notice is that the rear window is different and the visibility at the back is a little less. Other than that, the all-round visibility from the front is as good as in the smart #1. The #3 drives very nicely and is noticeably faster in the BRABUS version. It manages the sprint from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, compared to the 3.9 seconds of the smart #1. That's primarily achieved from 0-70 km/h and in a direct comparison it also gains a few meters distance from #1.
Despite my height of 1.90 meters, I sit very well in the smart #3, and it is quite comfortable even on longer journeys. Also very comparable to the smart #1. The seat can be adjusted in all directions and so can the steering wheel. The center console is as wide as in the #1, so it makes sense to try it out before buying. Not everyone likes it, even for me it could be a little narrower.
But to be honest, at least for me, that's complaining on a high level. What I have now learned to really appreciate is the 360° camera. In the past I didn't miss that in the Tesla, but today I really enjoy using it and am always grateful for having that. It's really great, especially in tighter traffic and when parking. The matrix LED light is also just as good. Blocks out oncoming vehicles and illuminates the rest of the road wonderfully. In my pre-production vehicle it was still a bit hectic at times. But in my #1 it does a good job and I assume that this will also be the case with the #3 until the first will be delivered to end customers.
Apart from the matrix LED light, I didn't really notice anything about the pre-production vehicle that still looked like pre-production. In general, you can also see that smart has been delivering the #3 to end customers in China for months and it is correspondingly mature. It also helps it with the software that it can bet on the European experience of the smart #1.
Top details and workmanship
The reputation that Chinese cars cannot have good workmanship is long gone. In the Tesla world, customers have preferred vehicles from the Chinese Tesla factory for years and you can't complain about the workmanship in the smart #3 either. Nothing creaks, everything feels good and as I now know from my #1, it stays that way even after 14,000 km.
Of course, things like pictures in the window frames, a charging card holder in the cooling compartment and similar things are also nice to see. You can clearly tell that people at smart are loving what they do. A lot of heart and soul goes into it.
I was also happy to see that the BRABUS rims actually say BRABUS on them. Not that this is particularly important. But it's simply part of a BRABUS vehicle. The BRABUS rims of the smart #1, on the other hand, could also easily be supplied by Renault.
My personal conclusion
I have to say, I really enjoyed the smart #3. Mine was red, which I think is a great color for the BRABUS. I was even more surprised to learn that this color combination is exclusive to Europe. The #3 takes up everything positive from the smart #1, but in my opinion has the nicer design. If you're faced with a choice today, you can't go wrong with either car and ultimately just have to decide which one you like better or whether you might often need the back seats for adults.
Although even I sit very comfortably in the back with my 1.90 meters, the #1 obviously has more space. You can also move the back seat of the #1 by 10 cm to either increase the legroom or the trunk. But all these things that don't make me choose #1 over #3.
When the leasing of my smart BRABUS #1 expires in 2025, I'm probably choosing a smart #3. Primarily because I find it more stylish, but ultimately both are good cars.
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