Some cars you buy with the head. Others, with the heart.
In the case of the Smart Fortwo BRABUS cabriolet, you buy it because the head and heart are so busy arguing that they dont notice you dropping family hatchback money on a small, convertible city car tuned by the makers of 200 mph Mercedes.
As purchases go, its hard to justify. A basic Smart Fortwo can be had for 9,450, and while it has many flaws, it can do most of what youd expect from a city car.
Spending not far short of double that on largely the same vehicle is ludicrous, but what a ludicrous toy you get as a result.
The Fortwos styling is an acquired taste, but theres no denying that in full BRABUS trim and crystal white paint, it has impressive presence. Large wheels and wide tyres bulge from the smarts arches, twin chromed tailpipes protrude from the rear valance, and the distinctive profile looks genuinely intriguing with the pram-style roof stowed.
Inside the quirkiness continues. The paddle-shift equipped steering wheel has possibly the chunkiest rim in existence, while seats, dashboard and wheel-rim are wrapped in black leather. Its all standard Fortwo in design, but somehow feels so much more special.
Twist the key and the engine farts into life with an amusing burble from the BRABUS pipes. And on the move, that amusement turns to hilarity, for theres nothing quite like punting the BRABUS Fortwo along a country road.
Objectively, its pretty bad. The stiff suspension morphs even the smoothest of surfaces to corrugated iron, which combined with the short wheelbase conspires to turn every corner into a twitchy, wheel-hopping white-knuckle ride. Grip is okay, but youll run out of nerves before youve expended the tyres purchase on the road. Youd not normally notice its dynamic limits, but with almost 100 bhp to call upon and a low kerb weight, the BRABUS is actually quite quick – 62 mph arrives in around 9 seconds.
The Porsche-like exhaust note is addictive too, broken only by the wait wait zoom of every gearshift. Contrary to popular belief you can change gear relatively smoothly, but it takes effort and keen timing.
Put in the effort and you’ll be rewarded with… well, with a smile, and a sense of relief at making it down another B-road alive…
Price as tested: 17,125 (approx.)
Combined mpg: 54.3
CO2: 119 g/km
There is absolutely no way we can rationally recommend you buy a Fortwo BRABUS, and even less way to suggest you go for the noisy, windy, even more expensive cabriolet.
But if you’ve got the cash to burn and want an object of utter frivolity, we can absolutely understand you buying one. Its a car to make you laugh, and sometimes you cant ask for more than that.
For more information, check out our full summary of the Smart Fortwo Cabrioletalongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!