Smart Fortwo Coupe 0.9 Turbo Prime Sport Premium 2dr
Smart prefers to talk of 0-40mph acceleration. Yes, forty: less than five seconds. Which means that you can surprise the powerful SUV next to you at the lights by departing pretty – sorry – smartly.
It's a smooth takeup. Equally important the regenerative braking is well integrated too, so you can nip about in a nice liquid fashion. Driven like that, 70 miles is a good range target provided it's not cold outside.
For the record, the 0-62mph time is 11.6 seconds, or 11.9 for the Cabrio we tested. Both acceleration and available range fall away badly towards motorway speed. But as soon as you get above 60, you're being pitched, squirmed and bounced about so much it feels like a bit of an adventure going quickly anyway. Lumpen country roads chuck it around too.
The steering is light but not that direct. So there's a bit more arm-twirling than you might expect, partly to prevent sudden inputs toppling it over. That happened to a few of the Mk1 Smarts before a recall fixed it. For the same reason, the ESP cuts in hard and early to curtail any shenanigans. Still, this electric version doesn't lean much in corners.
Because you can never get away from that body pitching, even urban speed bumps make it feel like an energetic rocking chair. But in town the suspension isn't insufferably crashy over small harsh bumps and holes. Road noise isn't bad for a baby car either.
Even at speed there's no bothersome air turbulence in the roof-back Cabrio, at least if you keep the side rails in place. It's electrically powered and well-insulated when closed.
Gone the wrong way? The wheel spins like a winch before hitting its lockstops and the car feels like it's U-turning in its own length.
Don't hope for driver assist systems. Beyond ESP and collision-mitigation braking (legal requirements these days) they're absent.
Electric drive, soft-top, super-manoeuvrable, sparsely equipped. It's a posh bumper car basically. And like a bumper car, in the right circumstances it can be a lot of fun.
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