Far beyond the microcar: Smart #3 unwrapped

At Auto Shanghai 2023, Smart unveiled the undisguised version of its second model, the #3. Though it shares much of its technology with the boxier #1, the coupé cross-over is the largest car the brand has ever launched and is similarly sized to the Volkswagen ID.5. There are new times ahead for the brand since it is co-owned by Mercedes and Geely.

With a length of 4,4 meters, the #3 is quite stretched for a brand that has built up a reputation on microcars. The design, however, with the rakish roof and a so-called ‘shark-nose’, according to Smart, doesn’t come as a surprise. Before the official reveal, the brand had already released some teasing pictures.

Like on the Mercedes EQ

However, aerodynamics played a decisive part in this design. There are flush door handles on the side to optimise the airflow, and on the back, we see taillights connected by a bar, or the typical signature for the all-electric EQ models from parent Mercedes.

Its wheelbase of 2 785 millimeters suggests it can comfortably transport up to five people, and while it is similarly sized to the VW ID.5, the weight is presumably a few hundred kilos less. It’s projected to start from 1 870 kilos, but this needs to be confirmed as official figures haven’t been released yet.

Chinese registration confirmation

The #3 builds upon the scalable Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) from Geely, which is also used by the Zeekr X, the expected Volvo EX30, the Lotus Eletre, and, of course, the #1.

Offering more legroom in the rear, the output will be similar between the two family members, implying the single-motor version will deliver 268 hp later, joined by a more powerful Brabus version, all-wheel drive, and an output of 428 hp. The Chinese registration agency has confirmed these numbers.

Consequently, it is expected that for battery and range, the 66 kWh pack with nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry is carried over from the #1. If so, the range should be slightly lower due to the higher weight.

It is more difficult to judge whether the 49 kWh LFP pack (lithium-ferro-phosphate) will be made available, which is scheduled for the #1 as a cheaper alternative.

European debut in September

In the interior, occupants are met by a 12,8-inch wide infotainment touchscreen, seats with integrated headrests, and a Beats sound system with 13 speakers. The minimalistic-modern design is flattered by turbine-style air vents, ambient lighting, and a panoramic sunroof though the latter will be available on the options list.

The European debut for the #3 is expected at the IAA in Munich in September, with a market launch scheduled for the end of the year. The #3 is a conquest model for the brand and must attract new buyers who previously showed no interest in Smart.


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