The smart #3: Exclusive insights from the experts who shaped the latest member of our product family

Our first large-scale press test drive on the scenic routes of Mallorca proved that the smart #3 not only looks dynamic, but also delivers in driving performance. More than 120 journalists and influencers tested our newest line through its paces in a drive across the island passing stunning coastlines and varied landscapes. The test left them thoroughly impressed.  

So, what is so special about the new #3? We spoke to three of our experts who significantly shaped the latest member of smart’s product family. 

What was the main source of inspiration behind the design of this new car, and can you share insights into the key design concepts that influenced its creation?  

Designers are constantly inspired by everything around them. Like a sponge which collects all the liquids around it. However, two motifs particularly impressed us: the Coca Cola bottle and the shark.

       What are the most innovative or unique design features incorporated into the #3, and how do they contribute to both the aesthetics and functionality of the vehicle?  

A super intense focus was on the sporty proportions. It took us a lot of effort to lower the vehicle by around 80 millimeters and to extend the wheelbase by 35 millimeters compared to its sister model #1. This provides improved knee room at the rear. And with the large panoramic roof without blinds, we offer very good headroom. The proportions enable a low center of gravity for very dynamic driving behavior. We are also very proud of the sporty roof design. It floats above the vehicle body and visually stretches the car to the utmost. 

 How has the design of the car been tailored to enhance the overall user experience, and what considerations were made to ensure practicality and convenience for the drivers and passengers? 

We paid much attention to ergonomics and everything you can touch in the car. The steering wheel, for example: You always have it in your hand. We invested a lot of time and created many models and prototypes until everything felt right: section of the rim, stitch lines, diameter and so on. I would also like to mention our user interface design: easy to understand and use, unique with its low-poly style, updatable based on customer feedback via OTA (over the air) and we offer you the Cheetah as a sporty companion. 

Kai Sieber, Head of Design smart @ Mercedes-Benz Design.

Can you highlight the most important engineering innovations incorporated into the new car model, and how do they contribute to improved performance, efficiency, and safety?  

We have lowered the body and seating height of the car and equipped it with an all-new suspension setup. This creates a driving experience that is more into direct, sporty, and dynamic vehicle feedback. And, especially for the BRABUS line a 50:50 weight distribution gets the best dynamic vehicle behavior. Overall, from the driver’s perspective the new setup is increasing fun and performance of smart #3.  

How has the engineering team worked to optimize the vehicle's performance, considering factors such as aerodynamics, weight distribution, and overall efficiency? 

We attached great importance to aerodynamics. By lowering the body of the car, the #3 now provides less surface. That contributes to reduce resistances and makes the vehicle more efficient. In addition, a wider use of high-level efficiency components in motors and inverters reduces consumption and increases range – a clear benefit for the driver. 

 Can you provide insights into the materials used in key components of the vehicle and any advanced manufacturing processes employed to enhance durability, safety, and overall quality?  

For example, for the smart #3 Premium we used silicon carbide technology (SiC) in the motor inverter. This particular material helps to increase the efficiency of the vehicle by reducing overall power loss and carbon emissions during the use phase. Furthermore, in most of the #3 lines we installed Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors (MOSFET) instead of Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT). Using this advanced material contributes to increase overall efficiency of the car, but also has positive effects on the range of the battery. 


Dr. Tilo Schweers, Vice President R&D smart Europe.

The smart #3 features advanced connectivity, infotainment, and safety features – how has this been delivered? 

The smart #3 is fitted with state-of-the-art technologies to provide customers a connected digital, and safe driving experience. Each #3 features a 12.8” high resolution LCD central touchscreen coupled with a 9.2” high resolution LCD driver display which work harmoniously to deliver the right information to the driver at the right time. A telematics module connects the car to the outside world ensuring it remains up to date with traffic information and allows the customer to remotely interact with their car. The #3 also has impressive active safety, which helped it secure a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating, including smart Pilot Assist with highway assistant (HWA), Active Lane Change Assist (ALCA) and Front and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. This is delivered by a comprehensive suite of radars, cameras, and sensors placed around the vehicle. The radars detect approaching vehicles in its blind spot and helps maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front; there are cameras placed around the vehicle to provide a 360 ° view to the driver; and there are numerous sensors to help the driver guide themselves in and out of parking spaces and tight situations.

Can you provide insights into how the car's software is designed for updates and upgradability? How does the manufacturer plan to address future technological advancements through software updates rather than hardware modifications? 

The automotive industry is in the era of the software-defined-vehicle (SDV) which means vehicles are increasingly defined by the software in it, whether that is in the central infotainment unit, Engine Control Units (ECUs), or Body Control Modules (BCMs). With the car being connected to the outside world via its telematics module, it is possible for smart to provide regular software updates to the vehicle to enhance the customer experience. This could be anything from optimising current features, to adding exciting new features. By designing the software to be upgradable and iterative, this allows smart to react flexibly to customer feedback and trends without always having to make hardware changes. The advantage for the customer is clear: they get a smart that remains up to date for longer and one that gets better during the ownership journey.

Xuan-Zheng Goh, Head of Product Management smart Europe.
About smart:  
smart Europe GmbH was founded in June 2020 as a wholly owned subsidiary of smart Automobile Co., Ltd. based in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, near Stuttgart. smart Europe’s international team is responsible for all sales, marketing and after-sales activities for the next generation of smart vehicles, products and services of the brand in the European market. With Dirk Adelmann as CEO and Martin Günther as CFO, the company is developing its full potential in Europe with a highly efficient and customer-oriented business model. smart Automobile Co., Ltd. was established as a global joint venture between Mercedes-Benz AG and Geely Automobile Co., Ltd. smart is positioning itself as a leading provider of intelligent electric vehicles in the premium segment.

smart #3: Electricity consumption combined in kWh/100 km: --- (NEDC) / 17,6 (BRABUS/Pulse), 16,3 (Premium),16,8 (Pro+), 17,2 (Pro) (WLTP); CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 0; Electric range (WLTP) in km: 415 (BRABUS/Pulse), 455 (Premium /Edition), 435 (Pro+), 325 (Pro). The Pulse Line is in the EU homologation process. smart will publish the values after expected completion in early 2024 through its usual channels.