After I left the States, I had to sell my beloved Mustang - no way I could use a car with such a high fuel-usage in Europe, and the taxes on it would have been...unfunny. It took a long time before I found something as much fun. Even Porsche is somewhat boring in my eyes - they're too civilized, too well-behaved.
In 2003 the company which created these weird little bubble-shaped plastic cars created something
amazing: the Smart Roadster.
A car consisting of a solid steel cell, covered in plastic. Tiny, light, fast, with a terrific road-hold and amazing fun!
This is a car with some very strange data points:
|Engine||3-cylinder 698 cm³ (43 cui) with turbo and intercooler|
|Power output||82 HP|
|Max. torque||110 Nm|
|Weight||790 kg (1742 pounds)|
|Top speed||175 km/h (109 mph)|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||10.9 s|
|Fuel usage||5.1 l/100km (46 mpg)|
|Length||3.427 m (11 feet)|
The acceleration does not sound like much, but that's because it has a weird 6-speed sequential semi-automatic transmission, which has to switch 4 times to reach 100 km/h. It's a little beast at red lights, because it hits 60 km/h (city max) in first gear, and really jumps, mainly due to its low weight.
It's not a real contender on the Autobahn, as its comfortable cruising speed is around 120 km/h,
especially as I much prefere to have the top open.
But it's mean on the country roads. You don't really out-accelerate it, and it has the most amazing road-hold I have ever seen on any car - thanks to the excellent suspension, large wheel base (10mm more than the Porsche Carrera!) and the very low center of gravity, it handles much more like a Go-Kart than a normal car.
I've never had my backside zipped over the road at a height of 19cm ;-)
And thanks to all its electronic handling aids (like ABS, ESR, EBV, ESP, and so on), it is really easy to handle difficult corners with it. Seeing that it has the same braking distance as a Porsche, I find I really prefere it :-D
Mind you, there isn't much space in it - the rear is taken up by the tiny engine, the front does not have much room... but it offers plenty of space to the driver, is very comfortable, quickly and easily drops its top, and is a lot of fun!
Looks like I finally found a Mustang-replacement for Europe, even if it is quite a bit smaller: