A promising interpretation of the traditionally mundane ForTwo

You know the electric revolution in the auto industry is looking more and more like a real thing when aftermarket tuners, usually the last defenders of traditional gas-powered engines, start to slowly embrace the prospect of tuning electric cars. Brabus isn’t quite there yet, but one of its offerings for the Frankfurt Motor Show points exactly to that kind of future. The model is called the Brabus Ultimate E Concept, and while it does take its roots from the smart ForTwo, this creation is more about what the tuner can do moving forward more than it is a showcase of smart’s expanding portfolio.

To be fair, there are a number of interesting items in the Ultimate E Concept. It’s all dressed up in a swath of fancy aero bits, making it look a lot more dynamic than a run-of-the-mill ForTwo. It even has an eye-catching yellow paint that a Mercedes-AMG GT R would be proud to wear. The real highlight of the concept though is its drivetrain. Don’t go looking for a combustion engine in there because it’s long gone. In its place is a full electric powertrain that Brabus developed in collaboration with Kreisel Electric. The result is a car that can produce 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the most powerful versions of the smart ForTwo in the world. For a car that’s never been considered exciting, the Brabus’ Ultimate E Concept looks to be one way to inject some life into the little ride.

Continue reading for the full story.

Is this a sign of things to come for Brabus?

Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The thought of a tuner developing a program for an electric car isn’t entirely new. I’ve personally seen a few Teslas out there sporting aftermarket aero bits. But the project of turning a traditional car with a traditional gas-powered engine and then replacing said engine with an electric motor is pretty new in the tuning circles.

The city car itself weighs just 2,392 pounds and with an output of 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, those numbers translate to an acceleration time from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds

That’s one of the appeals of the Brabus Ultimate E Concept and as far as first impressions go, the result is very promising. I especially like how the tuner was able to get the city car’s output up to 200 horsepower. It’s not much by regular car standards, but it is significant for a car like the ForTwo. Remember, the city car itself weighs just 2,392 pounds and with an output of 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, those numbers translate to an acceleration time from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds. That’s the same number as most of today’s entry-level sports cars and close enough to some mid-tier coupes are capable of. The 112-mph top speed is a little bit of a bubble burster, but again, it’s hard to imagine this car maintaining its controllability if it goes way above its performance means.

Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept High Resolution Exterior
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There’s a lot more to learn about the Brabus Ultimate E Concept. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long to get all the juicy bits as the car itself is headed to the Frankfurt Motor Show. Chief among our need-to-know requirements is whether the tuner plans to actually make a production model out of the concept. It has said that it’s currently performing road tests with the concept and that if it gets a positive enough reaction in Frankfurt to justify a limited production run, it’s an option the tuner is more than willing to consider.


Smart ForTwo

2015 Smart Fortwo High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Smart ForTwo.

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.

Press release

BRABUS shows the concept of an exclusive electric city sports car with 150 kW / 204 HP, 350 Nm of torque, 0 – 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 180 km/h in cooperation with Kreisel Electric

Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept High Resolution Interior
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“Electric city sports cars must primarily be fun. This includes breathtaking and virtually silent acceleration paired with a sufficient range,” says BRABUS CEO Prof. h.c. Bodo Buschmann.

150 kW / 204 HP (201 bhp), 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque, 0 – 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). A strikingly styled bright yellow body running on 18-inch forged wheels, and a luxurious interior crafted from the finest blue leather: On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of BRABUS (Brabus-Allee, D-46240 Bottrop, phone + 49 / (0) 2041 / 777-0, fax + 49 / (0) 2041 / 777 111, Internet www.brabus.com), the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept celebrates its world premiere at the IAA 2017 in Frankfurt am Main.

The concept vehicle of an exclusive city sports car with electric powertrain was built based on the current smart fortwo coupe. The transverse electric motor behind the rear axle gets its power supply from a lithium-ion battery pack installed in the vehicle floor. It has a capacity of 22 kWh and delivers a maximum range of 160 kilometers (100 miles) in the NEDC standard cycle.

The BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept was developed and built by BRABUS ZERO EMISSION. Since 2008, this business division of BRABUS Group has been working on alternative powertrains. As a competent development partner for this project, BRABUS ZERO EMISSION was able to enlist Kreisel Electric from Austria.

The BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept is currently in the road-testing phase. If there is sufficient customer interest, the equally innovative and attractive electric city sports car could be built in small-series production in the near future.

For four decades, BRABUS has been considered one of the top addresses worldwide for exclusive high-performance vehicles. The BRABUS ZERO EMISSION business division of the company holding the status of automobile manufacturer with the German Federal Department of Motor Vehicles deals with the development of vehicle concepts for cars with alternative powertrains.

Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept High Resolution Interior
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The Bottrop-based company continues its long-standing tradition of developing and producing exclusive city sports cars based on the smart fortwo with the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept and an alternative powertrain concept.

The platform for the innovative concept car is the smart fortwo coupe of the current generation. As in all smart vehicles, the BRABUS ZERO EMISSION high-performance electric motor is installed behind the rear axle in a transverse layout. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission.

The electric motor of the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept produces 150 kW / 204 HP (201 bhp) and propels the two-seater from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under five seconds. The vehicle has a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph).

Despite the performance potential, which for a microcar is enormous, the electric powertrain is particularly eco-friendly because it is carbon-neutral. As per NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), the consumption is just 13.9 kWh per 100 km (62 miles). The range is more than adequate for the predominant area of use of the concept car, the urban environment. Depending on the driving style, the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept has a range of 190 kilometers (118 miles) or 158 kilometers (98 miles) in the NEDC standard cycle on a single battery charge.

This comes courtesy of the ‘High-Efficiency Battery Power’ technology from Kreisel Austria. The compact 22-kWh lithium-ion pack of the Austrian specialists was tailored to fit the compact body of the smart fortwo perfectly. At the same time, the energy storage unit is nonetheless particularly light. As a result, the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept has a curb weight of just 1,085 kilograms (2,392 lbs.). Another advantage of this state-of-the-art battery technology is the short charging time. On a wall box charger in the garage at home, an 80 percent charge takes just 30 minutes.

However, the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept impresses not only with its eco-friendly high-performance powertrain. The design of the city sports car stands out from the crowd as well! The concept car is striking with its bright yellow special paint finish and its thrilling BRABUS WIDESTAR bodywork, which is exclusively reserved for the BRABUS ULTIMATE special models.

The widebody version has a sporty and dynamic design with fender flares at the front and rear axle. They create space for the 18-inch wide-base tires, extremely unusual for an electric car of this size. Using hi-tech forging technology, tailor-made and especially lightweight BRABUS Monoblock Y wheels are produced for the current ULTIMATE supercars based on the latest smart generation. With the front wheel weighing just 6.7 kilograms (14.7 lbs.) and the rear wheel just 7.1 kilograms (15.6 lbs.), the BRABUS Monoblock Y wheels for the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept are among the lightest 18-inch wheels on the market. A crucial part in this is played by the filigree design with nine spokes tapering off towards the outer rim flange in the shape of a “Y.”

Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Thanks to the widebody version, the vehicle can be equipped at the front with 7Jx18 wheels shod with 205/35 R 18 high-performance tires. On the rear axle, size 235/30 R 18 tires on eight-inch-wide wheels provide optimal traction and agile handling. For the concept car on display in Frankfurt, these hi-tech wheels were painted high-gloss black with yellow highlights matching the body.

The BRABUS suspension was tailored specifically to the vehicle weight of the electric car, the ultra-low-profile tires, and the wider track. It combines sporty and safe handling with the desired ride quality.

Of course, there is more to the widebody version than just wider fenders. It also includes aerodynamic-enhancement components developed in the wind tunnel, such as a front spoiler, rocker panels, and rear diffuser. This component was fabricated for the electric car in a special version that features a centered light that shows when the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept is in energy recovery mode.

As a contrast to the bright yellow outer skin, the BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept was fitted in the company upholstery shop with a BRABUS fine leather interior in blue BRABUS Mastik leather, which is especially soft and breathable. It includes not only the seats and the inner sections of the two door panels as well as the A- and C-pillars, but also the dashboard. The elaborate details of this exclusive all-leather interior include decorative stitching and honeycomb quilting with pinpoint accuracy.

Details such as the gauge for displaying the state of charge sitting on top of the dashboard, the clock, and the air vent surrounds were painted to match the vehicle color. The surround of the instrument cluster, the turn signal and wiper stalks as well as the door handle recesses were also painted an eye-popping yellow.

The BRABUS stainless pedals and the aluminum shift knob and emergency brake lever add a touch of racing flair to the cockpit. In addition, this concept car is fitted with tailor-made scuff plates with BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept logo, which like the stainless footrest in the driver footwell are backlit alternatingly in white or red. Stylish velour floor mats with BRABUS logo complete the classy ambience. Of course, the concept car is equipped with modern comfort features such as climate control, sound system and navigation system.

The BRABUS ULTIMATE E Concept is on exhibit at the IAA 2017 in Frankfurt am Main to demonstrate the competence of BRABUS ZERO EMISSION in the development of vehicles with alternative powertrains. Another aspect of the presentation is market research. The aim is to determine in direct contact with the public whether the demand is strong enough to build this exclusive electric city sports car in small-series production.

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