This has been a long time coming: the Smart #1 is finally launched in Malaysia at a starting price of RM189,000. There’ve been numerous previews preceding this event, Proton subsidiary and Smart’s regional distributor Pro-Net, have thrown their hat into the EV ring.
The #1 is fully imported in 3 variants, starting with the Pro followed by the Premium at RM219,000 and finally with the sportier and more powerful BRABUS at RM249,000.
Each Smart #1 comes with an 8-year/200,000km warranty for its high-voltage battery while the rest of the car is covered under a 4-year vehicle warranty and 2-year unlimited mileage spare parts warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Fully imported from China, only the hatchback-shaped crossover in range-topping BRABUS guise receives a dual-motor setup with 315kW (430hp) and 543Nm of torque enabling an 0-100km/h time of just 3.9 seconds.
The Pro and Premium variants both get a rear-drive set up via a single electric motor with 275hp and 343Nm, though the Premium and the BRABUS benefit from a larger 66kWh lithium-nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery as opposed to the 49kWh lithium-iron (LFP) unit in the base Pro.
Premium and BRABUS variants of the Smart #1 come with identical charging inputs capacities with AC topping out at 22kW and 150kW for DC, the former being the most prominent and positive change as it should take just 3 hours to reach an 80% state-of-charge (SOC) from 10% compared to the predicted 7.5 hours on the 7.4kW AC throughput supported by the car in other markets.
The Pro, meanwhile, maintains a 7.4kW onboard charger, extending AC replenishing to 6 hours to 80%, though its DC rate is a uniform 150kW.
The base Pro model comes with standard features like synthetic leather seats, 10-way power-adjustable front seats (with driver's memory), a five-speaker audio setup, a panoramic sunroof with a power shade, a polyurethane steering wheel, a cooling function for the centre armrest storage, a rear bench seat that slides and splits 60:40, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with rear vents and an N95 carbon filter, and a basic ambient lighting system with 64 colours.
Stepping up to the Premium version adds a 10-inch colour head-up display (HUD) that shows navigation and essential information, along with a 13-speaker, 640-watt Beats sound system. It also includes upgrades like leather seats, ventilated front seats, illuminated door sills, and an expanded ambient lighting system with 64 colours.
As for the Brabus edition, it boasts aesthetic changes such as a gunmetal-coloured centre console panel and a black-finished headliner. The seats are adorned in ultrasuede with leather sides, and this variant also comes with sportier aluminium pedals.
We’ll get to dissecting the Smart #1’s differences in our future pieces, especially after we get some seat time in them, but so far Proton’s first foray into the EV space (and a prelude to their local assembly and future home-grown fully electric model) looks to be a very promising addition to our roads.
Smart Malaysia is targeting to sell up to 1,000 units in 2024 and boasts that over 500 bookings of the #1 have been collected by this launch with a majority of buyers choosing the BRABUS.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.