Click above for high-res image gallery of the smart fortwo BRABUS

The BRABUS edition of smart's diminutive little fortwo is, as we like to say, officially official as of yesterday when the brand pulled the wraps off the new-for-USA model. Unlike the Europeans who have had access to BRABUS smarts for the last few years, we won't be getting the force-fed 112-horsepower three-cylinder engine here in the States, but that means we get to keep the 41 miles per gallon efficiency of the standard smart fortwo. You win some, you lose some, right? It's a nice package that definitely stands apart from other fortwo models thanks to its unique alloy wheels, monochromatic paint in either black or silver and numerous BRABUS emblems inside and out. Want one? It'll cost you $17,990 for the coupe or $20,990 for the cabriolet, which initially strikes us as a fairly steep sum considering it comes with the same 70 horsepower engine of the standard smart. As of right now, only those with fortwo reservations are eligible for the new BRABUS, but that seems likely to change in the near future if the model continues to prove as popular as smart claims it has.


Photos Copyright ©2008 Sebastian Blanco and Jeremy Korzeniewski / Weblogs, Inc.


PRESS RELEASE:

smart USA Introduces 2009 smart fortwo BRABUS at LA Auto Show
BRABUS accessories also will be available for all smart fortwo models


LOS ANGELES (Nov. 20, 2008) – smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: PAG), today introduced the new 2009 smart fortwo BRABUS edition during the LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"Building on the success of the smart fortwo in the United States, we are excited to take the smart brand to a new level by introducing the BRABUS model and BRABUS accessories to smart fortwo enthusiasts," said Dave Schembri, president of smart USA. "This car has always been about personal expression, and as we approach our first anniversary of sales in the United States, BRABUS adds a new dimension, extending our brand into new areas of customization and personalization."

The smart fortwo BRABUS edition builds on the revolutionary smart fortwo design with a model that enhances the vehicle's performance and styling. BRABUS is world renowned for providing exclusivity on wheels, and the smart fortwo BRABUS lives up to the expectations by offering exclusive design elements in a sportier package that maintains the fortwo's hallmark fuel efficiency, fun and functionality. Drivers can choose between two BRABUS models that best suit their personal taste and lifestyle – the smart fortwo BRABUS coupe or smart fortwo BRABUS cabriolet.

The smart fortwo BRABUS is the first vehicle offered in the United States from a partnership between smart and the German tuning specialist BRABUS. The smart fortwo BRABUS will have a limited production run in early 2009.

Enhanced Handling
Building on the existing smart fortwo platform, the smart BRABUS has been tailored for enhanced appearance and handling. A sportier exhaust tuning along with a sports chassis and suspension components have been designed to offer a smooth ride and added comfort. The vehicle's body has also been lowered by 10 millimeters to enhance the appearance and handling of the vehicle.

The BRABUS is powered by the same state-of-the-art, compact, three-cylinder gasoline engine as the current fortwo that has a capacity of 61 cubic inches, producing an output of 70 hp (52 kW). The vehicle's five-speed automated manual transmission has been tuned for improved shifting, especially in the stop-and-go traffic of urban driving.

The Exterior – Aggressive and Sporty
The BRABUS enhances the fortwo's exterior appearance with exclusive design elements that are unique to the brand. The vehicle's BRABUS "Monoblock VII" alloy wheels measure 15 inches in the front and 17 inches in the rear. With one glance at the smart fortwo BRABUS, onlookers can clearly see the fortwo has developed a bold and sporty character and is proud to flex its muscles.

A striking double "B" BRABUS emblem proudly accentuates the fuel fill door and the BRABUS name is spelled out on the front and rear of the vehicle. The BRABUS front skirt reduces the front axle lift force to improve the driving experience and comes equipped with BRABUS side skirts that add a sporty appearance to the tridion safety cell.

To accommodate the BRABUS sport exhaust system, the rear skirt of the BRABUS model has a cutout in the center to accommodate dual chrome-plated tail pipes.

Consumers are able to match their BRABUS model to their choice of lifestyle by selecting between the "open air" cabriolet with a fully automatic convertible top or a coupe with a panoramic roof. The vehicle is available in two colors: metallic silver and deep black. The metallic silver comes with a metallic silver tridion safety cell, and the deep black with a deep black tridion safety cell.

To complete the exterior's aggressive look, the BRABUS features halogen projector beam headlights, side indicators in yellow, and exterior mirror trim matching the tridion safety cell.

The Interior – Best to the Last Detail
The BRABUS model has sports pedals made of brushed aluminum. The vehicle features stylish velour floor mats embroidered with the BRABUS logo to accentuate the overall look and feel of the vehicle. The vehicle also comes standard with heated leather seats, power steering and additional dashboard instruments (all are options on the standard smart fortwo).

Each BRABUS model comes equipped with the same interior features of the standard smart fortwo passion coupe including: a single-disc CD radio that includes two speakers and an auxiliary input jack in the coupe model, or a premium six-disc MP3 compatible radio with sound system in the cabriolet model, molded storage areas located in the dash, door nets, along with a lockable glove compartment and storage areas beside the steering wheel. Also, a flat-folding passenger seat with backrest adjustment, coin holder (coupe only), dome light and mirror in the passenger sun visor.

Safety Comes Standard
Keeping with the benchmark set with the original smart fortwo, the smart fortwo BRABUS is designed with the highest level of safety and technology. Full-size airbags for the driver and passenger, along with head and neck side airbags are standard along with belt tensioners and belt-force limiters, which provide greater protection in case of a frontal impact collision.

Electronic stability program (esp®) is a safety feature instrumental in avoiding crashes (according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), which is why all smart models come standard with esp®. The vehicle also features four airbags and many other advanced safety technologies typically found on premium vehicles, including hill start assist, anti-lock braking system (abs) and a hydraulic dual-circuit break system. The vehicle also features integral safety seats, drive lock, top tether for child restraint systems, panic button on the key fob, tire pressure monitoring system and a tire repair kit.

Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) performed crash tests on the smart fortwo. The IIHS gave the smart fortwo coupe a "good" (highest possible rating) for Frontal Offset Crash and Side Crash. NHTSA gave the smart fortwo 5 stars (out of a possible 5 stars) for side impact protection. For complete crash test results and to watch a video of the actual crash test visit www.smartusa.com. Crash tests were performed on the 2008 smart fortwo models.

Environmentally Friendly
The BRABUS model maintains smart's commitment to the environment with excellent fuel economy and low vehicle emissions. The smart fortwo is the most fuel efficient, non-hybrid vehicle in the United States and fifth overall behind four hybrid models according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 Fuel Economy Guide. The vehicle achieves an average of 41 miles to the gallon on the highway according to the 2009 EPA regulations.

The vehicle already exceeds the goal set by Congress for the vehicle fleet and is classified as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). It is also certified by the EPA as a "Smartway" vehicle, which indicates good environmental performance, placing it among the greenest vehicles on the market.

The ecology of the smart fortwo extends into its component materials and the manufacturing processes used to produce it. Up to ninety-five percent of the vehicle is recyclable, and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics. In addition, the "smartville" factory in France, where the vehicle is produced, is one of the most modern and environmentally friendly plants in the world.

BRABUS Sales Process
To build on smart USA's successful and unique reservation program, smart created a similar, but separate, program to manage the sale of the BRABUS model. Current smart fortwo reservation holders have the exclusive opportunity to purchase the 2009 smart fortwo BRABUS with the option to convert their current reservation of a 2009 smart fortwo to the BRABUS. Customer response has been tremendous as many reservation holders opted for a BRABUS model.

The 2009 smart fortwo BRABUS coupe starts at $17,990*, manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). The BRABUS cabriolet starts at $20,990*.

*Prices for 2009 models. Prices exclude tax, title, registration, destination charge, options and dealer fees.

BRABUS Accessories
smart enthusiasts don't have to buy the BRABUS model to enjoy the exclusivity and excitement the BRABUS brand has to offer. Beginning in 2009, smart centers across the country will begin offering BRABUS accessories for sale and installation on any smart fortwo model.

smart fortwo BRABUS accessories include:

Exterior
• Signature single color exterior panels and skirts (note – panels come primed and ready for painting for consumer color choice)
• BRABUS kit (includes: 15 and 17 inch BRABUS "Monoblock VII" alloy wheels, BRABUS sport suspension, exhaust and lower skirts)
• BRABUS sport suspension
• BRABUS sports exhaust system featuring chromed dual exhaust tailpipes with BRABUS rear skirt
• BRABUS rear skirt
• BRABUS front skirt
• Fender flairs
• BRABUS "B" design sticker on the fuel filler door
• BRABUS roof spoiler
• BRABUS grille and rear bumper BRABUS nameplates
• BRABUS double fog and driving lamps
• Light package available for side skirts

Interior
• Ambient lighting package that includes illuminated driver and passenger side foot wells and automatic on/off capabilities
• Leather-wrapped handbrake lever with embedded matte brushed aluminum BRABUS plate and leather-effect sleeve
• Leather-wrapped gear knob with embossed BRABUS logo complemented with silver release button
• BRABUS sport brake and gas pedals
• BRABUS velour floor mats
• BRABUS 3-spoke leather sports steering wheel.

A complete list of BRABUS accessories and prices can be found at www.smartusa.com.

ABOUT the smart fortwo and smart USA
smart USA Distributor LLC, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is the exclusive distributor of the smart fortwo in the United States and Puerto Rico and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. The smart fortwo is a brand of and is manufactured by Daimler AG. This technologically advanced vehicle achieves 41 mpg on the highway and is an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle, as certified by the State of California Air Resources Board. The vehicle is 8.8 feet long, 5.1 feet tall and 5.1 feet wide and comes equipped with many functional and safety features found in most luxury models. smart is currently sold in 36 other countries, and more than one million smart fortwos have been sold since 1998. For more information, visit the smart USA website – www.smartusa.com.

smart is a registered trademark of Daimler AG.

ABOUT PENSKE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP
Penske Automotive Group, Inc., headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., operates 306 retail automotive franchises, representing more than 40 different brands, and 25 collision repair centers. Penske Automotive Group, which sells new and previously owned vehicles, finance and insurance products and replacement parts, and offers maintenance and repair services on all brands it represents, has 159 franchises in 19 states and Puerto Rico and 147 franchises located outside the United States, primarily in the United Kingdom. Penske Automotive Group is a member of the Fortune 500 and Russell 1,000 and has approximately 15,000 employees.

For additional information, visit www.smartusa.com or www.penskeautomotive.com