Smart Driving Review #1 Brabus – Addicted to Buy Good to Wear

Last fasting month I was loaned Smart #1 Brabus for 4 days. Quite different from the media drive session conducted by Smart Malaysia last January to Penang, this time I was able to test Smart #1 Brabus according to my own taste of testing.

The Smart #1 Brabus is the most powerful and therefore also the most expensive variant in the Smart #1 series brought in by Pro-NET, a subsidiary of Proton that focuses on New Energy Vehicles. This Brabus Smart #1 is sold at a price of RM 249,000 with two electric motors at the front and rear, making the drive all wheel drive and providing more control and acceleration for the driver.

Smart #1 Brabus

Eco, Comfort, Sport, Brabus Driving Mode

Travel Distance (WLTP) 400km

Acceleration 0-100 km/h – 3.9 seconds

Maximum speed 180 km/h (limited)

Battery Capacity 66 kWh

Charging Speed

AC 22kW 0-100%: ~ 3 hours 45 minutes

DC 100 kW 10-80%: ~ 30 minutes

Seat 5

Maximum Power 428 Ps

Maximum Torque 543 Nm

Other Functions Smart Pilot Assist, Lane Keep Assist, HUD, Moonroof

Sale Price RM 249,000

Exterior and Interior Design

As the name gives the Brabus touch, it can be clearly distinguished from the other Smart #1 by the red roof and also the red brake calipers. However, the unit I drove was a test unit with a black roof. Apart from the roof, there is also a Brabus label on the front, back and sides even though it is placed below eye level. If that's not enough for you, when you step inside, you'll be greeted by an interface display that will start operations with the Brabus label.

In addition, seat belts, head cushions, and some trim lines are also present in red, giving your vehicle an identity that has a price difference of RM 30,000 with the Smart #1 Premium. But at a glance, the entire Smart #1 can be said to be almost like a Mini Cooper, with lights that are more beautiful, elegant, and attractive due to receiving a touch of Mercedes design.

Smart, which is a joint venture between Mercedes and Geely, brings design and quality from both automotive giants. In fact, the touch of Mercedes can be seen in the design of the front and rear lights, the absence of any sharp lines or angles throughout the body and the position of the buttons on the steering wheel is almost identical to the Mercedes EQB. Geely also provides the SEA2 electric car platform, which is a modular platform for electric vehicles, which will also be used for the Smart #3, Volvo EX30 and Zeekr X.

In the front, there is a "frunk" that can accommodate simple components such as a tire pump, or a V2L (Vehicle-to-Load) plug, but it cannot accommodate a charging cable. On the other hand, in the rear storage space, it has a capacity that I can say is small, which is 313 liters. At this size, it may not be big enough if you have children and need to bring a stroller. This storage space may be enough for a 3-4 day adventure for two people, but may not be enough for a 6 day family adventure.

As a driver or front passenger, the position of the buttons on the dashboard makes it easy to access various functions. These include individual air conditioning controls, allowing the temperature to be set separately, and also the presence of ventilation fans on the seats. This function allows you not to feel sweat even during the day even with the moonroof open to allow sunlight to illuminate the interior.

The 12.8-inch LCD display is very functional for all settings and information. Users will often use this display to see the trip prediction function based on battery capacity which will definitely help drivers in planning trips and also finding nearby chargers. Integration with local EV charging providers also allows various information, including charging costs, to be displayed directly on this display.

On the passenger side, there are USB-C and USB-A ports for charging purposes, as well as air conditioning ducts to ensure rear passenger comfort. In this test session as well, passengers in the back stated that the rear suspension system felt uncomfortable. The ripples and bumps in the road can be felt. As a driver, I don't feel anything but this is also the same issue that I noticed during the first driving session to Penang before.

In terms of charging, the Brabus Smart #1 present in the Malaysian market is equipped with a 22kW AC charger that allows charging 10-80% as fast as 3 hours, or a full charge in around 3 hours 30 minutes, and a DC 150kW charger that can charge 20-80% as fast as 30 minutes . One of the things I like is that with the 22kW AC charger, I, who live in an apartment without a charger, can charge more briefly while resting or having breakfast.

In fact, when I had my sahur at Pelita Puchong, there was a Chargesini charger nearby that provided 22kW AC charging power. For 30 minutes, I charged 10.2 kWh / equivalent to 10% and it went from 52% to 62% and this is a very good speed, and the 22kW charger can also be installed with a house that supports 3-phase electricity ).

Performance & Driving Experience

Just enter the driver's cockpit, one thing I really like is the driver's seat that will be moved to make it easier for the driver to get in and out. The driver only needs to press the brake and the driver's seat will return to the position that has been set before. To start driving, no starter button needs to be pressed. Instead the driver can keep setting the 'gear' lever to drive mode, and the car will continue to slide fast.

Unlike other Smart #1, Smart #1 Brabus provides 4 driving modes, namely Eco, Comfort, Sport and Brabus. The Brabus drive mode gives 0-100 km/h acceleration in 3.9 seconds and this is clearly achievable. In fact, it also has a function to provide a design sound to add to the driving experience, but this sound is only in the interior, and cannot be heard from the outside. For those who miss the roar of the engine, this design sounds like driving an ICE (petrol) car.

With stronger power produced by two motors, the travel distance of Smart #1 Brabus is also slightly less than Smart #1 Premium which is only around 400km WLTP despite having the same battery size which is 66 kWh. However, Smart #1 is quite 'smart' where it calculates the distance which I feel is conservative, or more accurate and during use, I did not feel any travel annoyance.

For the first day I took this Brabus Smart #1 to Changkat Jering, via the Barat Coast Expressway (WCE), and on the second day I took this electric car to Genting Highland to try the energy regeneration myself. Traveling to Changkat Jering this time I made sure I had around 79% power before stopping at Behrang Side Stop heading North to charge. If I can charge at this Behrang Side Stop, I can use the WCE heading to Changkat Jering, and if not, I have to go straight to Changkat Jering, and charge before entering the WCE before heading South.

But for the second time I failed to charge at Gentari Hetian Sebelah Behrang because even though the indicator light shows two bars, it displays 5kW and in my opinion, the DC charging is only capable of providing 5kW. Only after this driving session, I was told by Gentari that for modular charging as in Behrang, the 5kW value displayed is the value if the charging is in idle status.

With 50% left from Behrang, I arrived at Sunway Xpark Tambun with 16% energy left and I had been driving quite fast without much regenerative energy. For 222.1km from 79%-16%, I have used 44 kWh, and regenerated only 6 kWh for an average energy consumption of 17.7 kWh. At this location, there is a Gentari 100 kW charger by Kempower, and charging from 16%-90% took 51 minutes with a charged energy of 53 kWh.

One thing I can confirm is Smart #1, both Brabus and Premium models, will be able to charge quickly from 20-80% in around 30 minutes as a result of the DC charger capability that supports up to 150 kW, and maybe another 20 minutes to reach 90%, but it will it takes the next 30 minutes for the last 10% to fully charge. So I didn't wait until it was full, and with 90% and 361 km travel distance, it was enough distance to go up the Menora Tunnel, down to Changkat Jering before turning back South using the WCE.

Using WCE with 80% remaining energy, it is a smooth and undulating highway like the North South Highway (PLUS). Although it has a beautiful view, for driving it can be said that it is a little unchallenging and I used Smart Pilot Assist a lot to maintain energy consumption. At the end of the WCE part in Teluk Intan, I re-entered the PLUS in Slim River before arriving at the Ulu Bernam RnR with only 10% energy left and 39km left to travel.

I can feel that using Smart #1 Brabus this time is a little different compared to the previous experience because even though I didn't drive as fast as the previous session, I didn't regenerate a lot of energy. The amount of energy regenerated is only 9kWh and the average energy consumption is 17.4 kWh /100km for a travel distance of 291.6 km.

For the return journey after Ulu Bernam, I didn't face any problem after charging at the maximum speed of 120 kW and maintaining the driving pattern as I had fully charged when breaking fast.

To test if there is any regeneration value on the battery, I went to Genting Premium Outlet and went down the hill. During the downhill journey, I was able to regenerate energy around 5% but I think there is a shortcoming on the Smart #1 which is the absence of energy regeneration settings using the paddle shifters. It is common for electric cars to have regenerative braking settings and the Smart #1 has two levels that can be accessed through the settings, namely Standard and Strong.

But for my driving tastes, I prefer the settings to be easily manipulated using the paddle shifters because they can change the level of regenerative braking faster, and the user's hands don't have to leave the steering wheel. Such control can increase the level of energy regeneration as a result of the manipulation of the braking level. Another thing that is a distraction is the sensor that detects the level of awareness of the driver who is too sensitive. Just because the sharp turns in Genting require a quick reaction, aggressive driver control on the steering wheel will make this car give a 'Driver Camera blocked' warning.

I understand if the sensor for the driver is meant to prevent accidents but in my opinion, it is too sensitive and most of the time, I will go to the car settings to deactivate this function. Perhaps this is something that can be improved with an update to the operating system.

After 4 days of driving the Smart #1 Brabus, I can conclude that this electric car is quite good in its class when it comes to its 22 kW AC charging that allows for AC charging in a short period of time, and its powerful acceleration performance that gives excitement to whoever drives it. But it is also hindered by being too fussy in monitoring the driver's situation, and more aggressively 'reprimanding' the driver who may still not feel tired.

At this price of RM 249,000, with a shortfall of 40km compared to the #1 Premium version, for me it is a small value in terms of distance and what the buyer will get is a very high performance electric car, but nothing more. In short you might add RM 30,000 from the Premium version because you want Brabus status, and if that's good for you, I'd say it's good to spend as much as possible when choosing a vehicle in a series.

And at that price, it can be said to compete with electric cars such as the Tesla Model 3 Performance, Hyundai Ioniq 5 Plus, Hyundai Ioniq 6 Plus, which obviously offer a larger cargo capacity considering the different classes, unlike the Smart #1 Brabus which is a 'hatchback' class '.


The calculation and algorithm of travel distance is quite accurate and does not cause travel annoyance

Fast and powerful acceleration performance

The trip distance prediction map function based on battery capacity is very helpful for users to plan trips.

22kW AC charger can shorten charging time


The 'hard' suspension makes the rear passengers less comfortable

The boot space of 313 liters is not enough for long holiday trips

The driver scan sensor is too sensitive

Changing the level of regenerative braking (regenerative braking) needs to be done through the menu / no 'paddle shifters'.

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