Say hello to the next big character in Smart’s turnaround story. We’ve already seen the little Smart #1 electric crossover, and this is its big brother laid bare on the website of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the upcoming Smart #3.
Like #1, the Smart #3 is a joint project between Mercedes and Geely. The Germans make it look nice and the Chinese actually make it and supply the hardware. Both cars ride on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) but the newer car is longer, wider, and lower, featuring a sporty coupe-like roofline.
But while the #3 measures 173 inches (4,440 mm) from bumper to bumper and the #1 comes in at 168 inches (4,270 mm), the bigger car’s wheelbase is only 1.4 inches (35 mm) longer. Visually, it’s clear that the two cars belong to the same family – some folks might even say that they look too similar.
Common to both are the central strips that connect the two front LED lamps and also those at the back, plus the tapering C-pillar that doesn’t appear to quite join the rear fender, giving the impression that the roof is floating above the cabin.
Related: 2023 Smart #1 Brabus Packs A 422 HP Punch Despite Subtle Looks
The information on the Chinese government site doesn’t include powertrain data, but Car News China says the #3 will be offered with the same motors as its little brother. That would mean entry-level cars are in line for a single-motor that sends 268 hp (272 PS) to the rear wheels, while the sporty Brabus version – seen here in orange paint and marked out by its slim nose scoop – adds a 154 hp (156 PS) motor to the nose driving the front wheels, for a total of 422 hp (428 PS). Official figures for the #1 Brabus say it can get to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds, so we’d expect the bigger #3 to take a tenth or two longer.
The #1 looks slightly gawky from some angles, a little upright and toy-like, but applying the same design ideas to a sportier-looking crossover has definitely worked out better. We don’t imagine Smart will have to look far for buyers when the #3 lands in dealers in Europe, but sadly the company has no plans to bring its new generation of cars to North America, having withdrawn from the region in 2019.