New smart #3 Design Teaser Shows Coupe SUV Take on the smart #1

2024 smart #3 design preview 16 photos
Photo: smart
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smart was founded in 1994 by Daimler-Benz (a.k.a. Mercedes-Benz Group AG since recently) and the Swiss company we now refer to as the Swatch Group. The rather strange cooperation gave birth to a tiny car dubbed City Coupe in 1998 for the 1999 model year, which adopted the fortwo moniker after the mid-cycle refresh.
The pint-sized hatchback would be joined by a few more body styles, namely a cabriolet, a four-door hatchback, a roadster, and even a doorless roadster. Still known as Daimler AG back then, smart would be shared with Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2019 due to dwindling sales. The reason for said poor sales? Microcars aren’t exactly in fashion anymore, not even in the EU, where crossovers are steadily gaining traction.

Headquartered in China, the resulting joint venture is more Zhejiang Geely Holding Group than Mercedes because Merc has different priorities right now. #1 is the name of Chinese smart’s first-ever model, a five-door crossover that’s best described as a hatchback on stilts.

Launched in 2022 with much pomp and circumstance in China despite its lukewarm reception in the western world, the #1 will be soon joined by another five-door crossover. Instead of #2, the #3 will soon arrive at dealers in the form of a coupe-styled crossover underpinned by the Geely Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).

Previewed by a set of three design sketches, the #3 has already been photographed in all its glory. The leaks come courtesy of MIIT, which stands for (China’s) Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The MIIT further published a few technical specifications, beginning with the 2.79-meter (109.8-inch) wheelbase.

Width and height are listed as 1.84 and 1.56 meters (72.4 and 61.4 inches). Top speed is limited to 180 kilometers per hour (112 miles per hour), and two variants of the #3 are in the offing. The single-motor variant reportedly makes 200 kW (268 horsepower), channeled to the rear wheels. The Brabus derivative flaunts a two-motor setup good for up to 315 kW (422 horsepower) on full song.

The specs aren’t bad in the least for a subcompact-going-on-compact vehicle, and the swoopy roofline makes the #3 that little bit cooler in the eyes of prospective customers. Mercedes-Benz Group AG chief design officer Gorden Wagener goes on even further with the lyrical waxing in the press release below, using pompous utterances like… wait for it… emotionally confident.

Gifted with pop-out door handles, the smart #3 will make its premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2023 motor show on April 2023 in Chinese specification. Expected to cost more than equivalent variants of the smart #1, the coupe-styled brother will also be sold in the United Kingdom and European Union. Details on the UK- and EU-spec #3s will be revealed sometime this coming summer.
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Editor's note: MIIT images featured in the gallery.

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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