DRIVING RANGE - PAST AND PRESENT FLEET

 

_Brabus Smart on the isle of Lewis, and Harris._

3 Cylinder, 102Bhp, rear wheel drive, 999cc 8.9 seconds to 60mph, 96mph top speed.

 

In late October into November 2014 the Smart car boarded the CalMac ferry from Uig to Tarbert laden with one set of clubs, one production kit bag and one bemused Italian girlfriend who thankfully has mastered the art of packing light! The most amazing thing about this car is the number of cubby holes and leg room as well as a deep dash at the front which also has storage, the most inconvenient thing was having to pack the golf bag at an angle and take the driver out. The drive to the terminal was relaxed and plenty of provision was made in the schedule to prevent any white knuckle driving, which in a smart car can happen at a moments notice. The Brabus version here has chunkier tyres than the original car with stiffer suspension and is lower, though I'd tested the original car and it's amazingly agile handling due to it being rear wheel drive and the cars dimensions being virtually square. It's light too as there's no room for a spare wheel which has been replaced by a foam injection puncture repair kit.

 

Click here to see the map via google maps.

 

Petrol isn't an issue as the tank only holds 33 litres offering a range of around 400 miles, and there is satisfaction to be had at paying around £30 each time you fill up. The Brabus looks quirky, is surprisingly comfortable and it drives like the wind even at low speeds as you have a low centre of gravity in your seating position though you better know your passenger well as a there is a lot of hand contact due to there being no gear box channel that would usually provide a barrier as in other cars!

 

The drive into Stornoway down through high twisting momentary alpine style road which leads onto yet more spectacular colours in the autumnal landscape is a visual treat and the glass panoramic roof allows the blue sky to flood in (as well as the grey sky). A bemused friend purchased a CD of F1 engine sounds when he first saw the Brabus to play in the car whilst driving (it also doubles as a handy cup coaster) but I opted for a bit of gaelic radio instead. So far so good until your reminded of one of the few but significant issues surrounding Smart car ownership, potholes. Although we were only traveling at around 55 mph the pot hole we ran over felt like a mineshaft and as the suspension is harder than usual it amplifies the effect, shouting 'iceberg' after each one makes it slightly more bearable. If that weren't bad enough, the gear box is utterly docile! You have to think at least three seconds ahead of any gear changes, it's a relief that the speed limit is 60mph! Having driven the Brabus at 70mph on a mainland motorway it feels like 170mph and when the wind catches it whether from a truck on the motorway or from the west across Lewis black moor it really gangles the nerves! But, you can't help but love it so to sum up;

 

+ Cheap to run

+ Great fun

+ Quirky looks

+ Rare! Click here to see how many left

+ Surprisingly roomy

- Woeful gear box

- Unless your driving on silk the ride can be unforgiving