Those in the market for a city car with a bit of pep are undoubtedly pleased that Daimler
has slotted a turbocharged three-cylinder engine into its new Smart Fortwo
. But it's the only engine confirmed so far for North American dealers, and with only 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque on tap, there's still room for improvement. Fortunately Daimler is considering just such a prospect.
Speaking with Smart powertrain engineers while in Barcelona to drive the new Fortwo
was told that the prospect of a more powerful Brabus
model is indeed on the table, although details and exact specifications are still being worked out. We spotted just such a prototype
under development this past summer, when our sources estimated the new Brabus model would offer between 105 and 120 hp. But looking at the relative increases which the venerable Daimler tuner has managed in the past, our appetites are whetted anticipating the possibility of something even more potent.
We could be looking at a new Smart Brabus with nearly 130 hp, which in a six-foot wheelbase could make it a real firecracker.
The first-generation Smart was offered in Europe as a Brabus model with 74 hp and 81 lb-ft, which was more than the output of any version offered in North America. A second Brabus model was then offered (again, sadly not in North America) with 101 hp and 108 lb-ft, which was even more powerful than even the turbo version of the incoming new model. Applying a similar formula, we could be looking at a new Smart Fortwo Brabus with substantially more power – potentially as much as 130 hp and 160 lb-ft. In a vehicle with a six-foot wheelbase, that kind of chutzpah could make it a real firecracker, especially when paired with upgraded brakes, suspension, rolling stock and aero (not to mention the conventional five-speed manual and six-speed DCT that have replaced the troublesome previous automated manual).
That output would also put it in line with the previous Renaultsport Twingo 133
– a model which Renault
told us on our recent drive
was a rather slow seller. But like the Daimler engineers, Renault spokesmen said they've yet to decide on a final strategy for a sport model of the new Twingo
, which was jointly developed with the new Smart Forfour
Ultimately, we understand that both partners in the rear-engined, rear-wheel drive city car project will likely settle on a performance strategy that both will enact jointly – although with neither the Forfour nor the Twingo coming to North America, our only hope in getting our hands on such a performance-oriented city car will rest on the Fortwo.