Key details of the Smart #3
- #3 is a sloping-roofed rival to the Volkswagen ID.5
- Sits above the smaller #1 as Smart moves away from city cars
- 62kWh battery and 268bhp, with hot Brabus model on the way
- Arriving in the UK in 2024
What is the Smart #3?
It’s a Smart, but not as you know it. The brand known best for its diminutive city cars is growing… quite literally, with the new Smart #3 hitting new heights in exterior size.
The new Smart #3 is a family car with a coupe-like design, similar in size and concept to the Volkswagen ID.5. It joins the Smart #1, a smaller Cupra Born rival that’s arriving in the UK in the coming weeks.
Other key rivals for the Smart #3 include the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, upcoming Ford Explorer and the new Hyundai Kona Electric.
Why should I get excited about the Smart #3?
We can’t dazzle you with technical data yet because Smart hasn’t given out much information on the #3, beyond this series of official images. It was revealed to the public at the Shanghai motor show – Smart, if you’re wondering, is now part-owned by Chinese giant Geely, which also owns Polestar, Volvo and Lotus.
The other half of Smart is still owned by Mercedes-Benz (as it has been for many years). In essence, that means Geely does all the technical stuff like motors and batteries, while Mercedes-Benz does the design inside and out.
More concrete details will arrive in September when the Smart #3 is shown to European customers at the Munich motor show in Germany.
But we can see the new car’s curvy design, echoing the smaller #1. Smart describes “seamless, smooth lines and athletic curves”, helped by the pop-out door handles, while front and rear ‘CyberSparks’ full-width LED light bars also feature.
The soft look is designed to make the body cut through the air as cleanly as possible, helping to maximise range. It’s quite a departure from the tiny old Smart EQ ForTwo, that’s for sure. Bold colours including the Photon Orange paint seen here will help the #3 stand out, too.
Looks great, but what’s the Smart #3 like inside?
The sole image of the Smart #1’s interior shows a design inspired by Mercedes-Benz models (Geely shares Smart with Mercedes-Benz, if you didn’t know). There’s circular ‘turbine’ air vents and a flowing dashboard with a chunky centre console.
That dash is dominated by a 12.8-inch infotainment screen placed in the driver’s eyeline. A large glass roof lets in light, while multi-colour backlighting is visible throughout the car – even on the integrated seat headrests.
Music fans are catered for by a 13-speaker Beats sound system. If you look carefully one of those speakers is actually mounted by the rear-view mirror, which is a novel touch, especially if you pump up the volume and the view from the mirror goes all blurry.
Smart claims the #3 has a longer wheelbase (the space between the front and rear wheels) than the #1. This will enable a more spacious cabin making it a proper family car.
How much range can the Smart #3 get on a charge?
Now this is where it gets tricky: Smart has kept tight-lipped on any kind of technical stuff for the #3. However, we know that it’ll share plenty underneath with the #1, so we can speculate.
A 62kWh (usable) battery pack is likely, which in the #1 promises up to 273 miles of range. The #3 will probably manage less than that due to its extra size and weight. We’d estimate that official figure to be around 250 miles, but a bigger battery version may be offered.
The #1 also promises 150kW rapid charging capability, which we’ll also see on the #3. That’s enough for you to top up the battery from 10-80% in under half an hour.
As for performance? Initial models should put out 268bhp through a single motor powering the rear wheels, which should make it pretty nippy. Not serious enough for you? A Brabus version is on the way.
Never heard of Brabus? It’s Mercedes-Benz’s in-house tuning firm known for making fast cars even faster. That means the Smart #3 should (like the #1) put out a mighty 422bhp, enough for a 0-62mph time under five seconds thanks the dual motors and all-wheel drive. It’ll probably sacrifice a bit of range as a result, however.
When is the Smart #1 available to buy or lease?
Patience is a virtue, because you’ll need to wait a while if you’re a UK customer. The Smart #3 will go on sale in China later this year, but Smart has confirmed European market release won’t be until early 2024.
As for the price? We can only speculate there as well. The Smart #1 is expected to start from around £35,000, so expect the #3’s starting price to nudge over the £40,000 mark.
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