Although the Smart ForTwo was introduced in 1998, it took five years for the slightly beefed-up Brabus model to arrive in dealerships. The first-gen model features a 74-horsepower, 698cc engine, revised front spoiler and grille, new exhaust and wider wheels. As Smart increased engine displacement for the second-gen model, the ForTwo Brabus gained a turbo, 1.0-liter unit rated at 101 horses, 18 ponies more than the standard vehicle. The upgrade dropped the 0-to-60 mph sprint from 10.6 to 8.8 seconds, making the ForTwo Brabus the quickest city car ever built. As we move onto the 2015 model year, Smart introduced a redesigned, third-generation ForTwo, with a Brabus-badged version to follow suit.

Just a few months after Smart showcased the Brabus tailor-made program for the ForTwo at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the brand’s souped-up city car has hit public roads wearing very little camouflage, hinting the production model is well underway. An official release isn’t scheduled until March 2015, when the Geneva Motor Show commences, but we have a bunch of new spy shots, along with a handful of details, to quench your thirst for ridiculously fast city cars.

Click past the jump to read more about the Smart ForTwo By Brabus.

Spy Shots

December 22, 2014 - Smart ForTwo By Brabus drops camouflage

2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus Spyshots
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2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus Spyshots
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2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus Spyshots
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July 22, 2014 - First testing session

2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus Exterior Spyshots
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Take a closer look at these spy photos and you’ll notice that this particular ForTwo comes with some aerodynamic enhancements, including a bigger front grille and a spiced-up front bumper, two traditional enhancements attributed to Brabus. But it’s the twin exhausts on the back that can be construed as the biggest indicator that this ForTwo has the German tuner’s fingerprints on it.

The Smart ForTwo doesn’t usually carry two exhaust pipes unless an aftermarket company installs another one.

Exterior

Although this prototype is far from being ready to hit the production line, it does showcase a few body features that will enable the Brabus model to set itself apart from the standard ForTwo. The front fascia might seem identical to the regular ForTwo’s at first, but take a closer look and certain details start to emerge. For starters, the apron comes with some sort of splitter. The piece is similar to the spoiler seen on the regular ForTwo, but it is now bent forward for a sportier appearance. Naturally, the blades are wider, but their dimension is not yet clear, as the the piece is wrapped in duct tape. The front grille carries a different configuration as well, but we expect things to change as the city car moves closer to production. A body-colored front grille is very likely.

More changes are visible around back, where the taillights received black surrounds. Whether this feature will be retained for the production model or not is yet unknown, but we know for a fact that the revised apron with dual exhaust is here to stay. Larger wheels and sportier side skirts will complete Brabus’ exterior package.

Interior

The interior of the ForTwo will surely receive a bit of attention from Brabus. The car’s new sculpted seats and the three-spoke steering wheel will come wrapped in high-grade leather, while the dashboard and center piece of the door panels will most likely be covered in Nappa leather. A set of bespoke pedals and Brabus-branded floor mats will round of the package, with more goodies to be found on the extensive and very expensive options list.

Drivetrain

Smart has yet to release drivetrain information for the Brabus ForTwo, but the likely scenario is the performance city car will use a retuned version of the brand-new 0.9-liter three-cylinder engine. The Renault-sourced unit is currently used in the range-topping Smart ForTwo and generates 90 horsepower and 99 pound-feet of torque.

A Brabus update will take output in the 120-pony range, but don’t expect more 125 horses and some 115 pound-feet of torque. No need to be disappointed though, as it will represent a significant improvement compared to the previous Brabus ForTwo, which came with 101 horsepower and 108 pound-feet on tap. The updated output should be enough to propel the light vehicle from naught to 60 mph in under nine seconds.

Chassis tweaks are also likely, meaning the new-generation Brabus will feature improved handling and stability. The standard ForTwo is already a huge step forward compared to its predecessor thanks to its wider track and improved suspension and we can expect for Brabus to take things even further. Sure, the ForTwo will never be the kind of vehicle you want to take to the track, but a sportier suspension will improve its driving dynamics considerably.

Prices

It’s way too early to talk about prices, but we expect the Brabus ForTwo to cost in excess of $18,000. The base, non-Brabus model will retail from around $13,300.

Competitors

Scion iQ

2014 Scion iQ High Resolution Exterior
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The Scion iQ sits in an unenviable position. On one hand, it’s remarkable that the model has lasted this long in the market despite offering little in terms of market value. But it must be doing something right. The iQ is a tad bigger than the ForTwo even if the dimensions are pretty much similar. Brabus’ involvement in the latter makes it sportier and more aggressive, which doesn’t bode well for the iQ’s chances of receiving some love.

The iQ does have an advantage of being a little more powerful when you line up the two models with no aftermarket assistance. The iQ’s 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 94 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 89 pound-feet of torque at 4,4000 rpm, a little better than the 71 horsepower and 67 pound-feet torque figures of the ForTwo. Still, it’s hard for the iQ to compete with a ForTwo that has Brabus as its proverbial in-ring manager. The added assistance alone is enough to carry the Smart city car to a resounding win against its Scion rival.

Conclusion

The third-generation ForTwo is massive improvement compared to its predecessor and the Brabus version will benefit from those feats as well. The stiffer suspension and more fuel efficient Renault engine coupled with Brabus’ performance-oriented upgrades will most definitely result in the nippiest and appealing city car the segment has to offer. The fact that the new ForTwo is prettier by design will also help Smart move more Brabus-badged units worldwide.

  • Leave it
    • Could use a more aggressive body kit
    • Not the kind of performance vehicle you’d take to the track
    • Likely very expensive for a tiny city car
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