roadster_small.jpgJust last month contributor Dr. S.P. Long tested the Brabus K4, somewhat of an uncle-car which just so happens to have the ability to go faster than the average E200K.

Since the tuned Mercedes-Benz E200K report drew so much of flak of still being an old mans car, Dr. S.P. Long has decided to visit this ‘old chaps garage and check out his other boring and conservative ride.

Enter the smart roadster, a small two-seater, rear engined, rear wheel drive roadster by the same people who brought you the E200K. Let’s have a look at how the smart roadster performs in an uncle’s hands.

Report by Dr. S.P. Long.

See this in your rear-view mirror and it wont be for long!

To say that his next car is boring: gosh! Its another DaimlerChrysler AG product. Owned by the uncle himself – what else? It is by Mercedes-Benz, so likely conservative too. Blue colour: possibly looking drab. Small cc engine with turbo: pointless. Handling: BMW will surely beat the heck out of this. Non-AMG version: not an M5 worthy opponent, a “poor mans” Mercedes.

Well to be specific, I had a taxi-ride in this roadster of Mr. Peter Lee. This little smart flies and yet hugs tarmac. Paradoxical? You bet. The uncle you guys mentioned was so maniacal on the road; he was weaving in and out of traffic at 140plus km/h! I was hanging for my dear life because it felt like 200km/h. Exhilarating yet feeling safe. The roadster felt ever so tightly screwed together and planted on the road. And oh so agile and nimble! Ride was firm, a little choppy at times but not uncomfortable. I am not at liberty to mention where we did the ‘Bad Boys run but it was atop and across a very famous landmark up north.

Tridion cage in metallic silver.

This was after I took a leisurely drive in his RM145k smart roadster. The wind in your hair feeling was just so: Priceless. Mind you, he didnt purchase this car using a popular brand of credit card. Admittedly, with the fabric roof retracted back, we had let in a lot of noise and the occasional diesel fumes too. All are however forgiven since it was just lovely hearing the roar of the turbocharged engine – mounted in the rear. ICE upgrades? Dont bother. This car has a soundtrack of its own!

Handling is just so go-kart like. You can just point and shoot this little baby. Cornering lines are ever so faithfully taken. Steering is really sharp and incisive. Nicely weighted and fairly communicative – or was it just lesser rack feedback sensed since there were so many other distractions to saviour? Yes, NVH becomes nicely receptive and sensational in this rag-top. I must have gone mad saying this about noise in your ears, vibration felt through the canvas top and certain road harshness rippling through your butt & spine. It may be drums for the rear wheels, but stopping power is never found to be wanting, likely because of the low kerb weight of 790kg.

The small engine (698cc to be exact) is ever so willing and watching the boost gauge swing in the car reminds you of how responsive the turbine is to your right foot. I will not detail the innards of the car because its just spartan, functional and fun! The manual selections of gears by paddles have to be done ‘lift and shift pattern because it would get jerky if you are relentless on the throttle. This is no DSG but it works fine, much like the smart forfour. Leaving the automated manual to its own devices, I found it to be quicker on the go. Well, maybe youd need to hold a gear or two for B-roads drive, so the manual shifters are not all gimmicky.

Simple alloys but sporty.

I was just wondering if all these Road Runner (remember that famous cartoon?) zipping actions could be just a deception. The smarts diminutive size and open-top feeling may have contributed to the rocketing pick-up of speed. Getting back into my ‘uncle standard E200 Kompressor the next day, I found myself trailing the roadster ever so distantly during a drive over to Ferringhi Beach. Must be the advantageous power-to-weight ratio, I reckoned.

Well, so much for two old guys day out in one of the uncles other car. Until my next contribution (hint: review of another conservative make), keep an open mind guys!

Chunky rear-end misleading of its actual size. Owner ran off: camera shy!

Sorry! No golf bags allowed. Just some snorkeling gears maybe. Tridion cell (in silver) surrounds front bonnet.

Little blown ‘monster sits at the back.

Simplicistic interior. Note turbo boost gauge almost hidden behind wheel rim.

Engine idles high when cold. Paddle shifters lurking behind steering wheel.

The Mercedes played catch-up with the roadster.