Smart #1 and #3 Get ESP Update After Failed Handling Tests

30 years ago, Daimler founded the Smart brand to build tiny city cars that became famous around the world. Nowadays, Smart is an EV joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Geely. And, for 2024, Smart is updating the ESP of its two models, the #1 and the #3, after the former failed handling tests.

News of Smart updating the ESP of its #1 and #3 comes from ADAC (the General German Automobile Club). This is Europe’s largest automobile association and it contacted the carmaker after uncovering a handling safety issue with the Smart #1 while testing the vehicle at the ADAC Technology Center in Landsberg, Germany.

The Smart #1 showed limited driving stability when driving quickly in alternating curves or when changing loads, which can lead to an increased risk of accidents,” the association noted.

After being approached by ADAC, Smart adjusted the ESP of the #1. And when the small electric SUV was tested again at the ADAC center in Penzing, this “no longer showed any weaknesses in terms of driving stability”.

The optimized ESP for Smart #1 is being incorporated into ongoing production while existing vehicles are set to get the revised software from April (2024) via an OTA update.

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Smart #1 and #ESP update part of a bigger change

As a result of the said test, Smart is also updating the ESP software of its #3 small electric SUV coupe. Plus, the carmaker decided to include the ADAC test procedures in its own development program, aiming to ensure the handling safety of all its models, present and future.

It’s worth noting the Smart #1 had also failed an independent moose test performed by the Spanish automotive YouTube channel km77 in 2023.

Tested in the range-topping Brabus version, the dual-motor electric SUV (428 hp) showed severe oversteering tendencies—the vehicle used Continental EcoContact 6 tires, which favor low rolling resistance over handling and had finished in the middle of the pack during a 2022 comparison test held by ADAC.

Given that the Brabus version of the Smart #1 boosts power from 200 to 324 kW (268 to 434 hp) by adding a second motor, while featuring no handling upgrades, we can’t discard this one of the causes of the sub-par handling. However, the said ADAC report isn’t limited to the Brabus version, so expect the entire Smart #1 and #3 ranges to receive the ESP update.



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