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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thumbs up Hi Ya'll from Arkansas!

Hi everyone!

I just joined the forum because I'm buying my first Smart Car tomorrow. I still haven't decided which model to purchase. I'm leaning toward a 2014 Black Brabus Coupe. There are so many choices, I should have joined the forum sooner, so I could get professional smart car opinions.

Ideally, I'd like a 451 Brabus Cabriolet, but cannot find one anywhere in the USA. I did find a few 451 Brabus fortwo models. I prefer the all White Brabus, but the one I found cost $3,000 more than the Black Brabus I found. The Black car has 38,000 miles and the White model has only 14,000.

Question...is a 38,000 mile Brabus Edition Smart car priced at $6,500 a better decision to buy than a 14,000 mile Brabus Edition Smart car priced at $9,300? The $6,500 vehicle has a GPS NAV radio and the $9,300 car had a basic radio.

For $2,800 or 30% more and GPS Nav, I feel the higher mileage car would be a better buy. I still would have 12,000 to shake the vehicle down before the warranty expires.

I wish I knew if I would prefer a convertible over a coupe. If I could find a 451 convertible Brabus, I would buy it. There are none, so I wonder if I should wait for one to surface I wonder if the convertible is as much fun as it looks or just a pain in the behind? It gets very Hot in Arkansas in the the summer and uncomfortably cold in the winter. Arkansas doesnt have much mild weather. So many questions and so many choices. HELP!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:23 AM
 
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I live in Southern California, and there are zero cabriolets/convertibles at my house. (There are a bunch of cars, but zero convertibles.) While convertibles may be fun, I'd be happy with the coupe. I am happy with the Smart navigation system. I have not been successful with updating the maps on it, and the latest update is from 2012/2013. If it has the smart/OE Nav, this may be a consideration for you, in particular if road changes are frequent where you live.

(Having rented a convertible Mustang in Las Vegas during the winter, and taking it up to Mount Charleston with snow falling, I must say those things can be fun, even in snow. Had the top down for a little of it, but the seniors in the car were getting cold....)
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 07:28 AM
 
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Hi Ya'll from Arkansas!

What year is the white Brabus? With a smart, its model year can be important to some buyers, due to key upgrades. You might negotiate a better price than you imagine, especially if it's been on the market for a while.

Coupe vs. Cabrio is a personal decision. I've had many non-smart convertibles, but would likely never buy another. I find them initially intriguing, but then they become too hot, too noisy, too windy, too poor visibility, too much maintenance and care, too subject to vandalism, etc., etc. Fortunately, others will disagree, as they should!

With a used smart, I'd be wanting a warranty with more than 12,000 miles remaining, if possible. With a longer warranty, if you later decided that a smart weren't for you, you'd still be able to pass along more warranty to a subsequent buyer. And don't kid yourself, if you get one with 12K miles of warranty remaining, that you'll get it sorted out in that time and never have another issue – I'd never own a smart out of warranty. But again, that's personal, and many may disagree.

Lastly... black? Never again, unless you're into cleaning your car ALL the time. Plus, they get hotter; I've spent lots of time in Arkansas in the summer – no, thanks!

Widen your search? Many people shop farther away, and you'll find more availability in major smart markets around the country, often at better prices due to competitiveness.

Finding the right one should not be rushed. Spend time driving as many smarts as you can, so that you'll learn to evaluate a good buying opportunity from a bad one.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 04:09 PM
 
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I agree with everything stevenvillatoro said. I have a 2014 white brabus and love the car. No navigation, had the basic radio which i finally had enough if. Put a jvc dual din system in with good speakers. Much better. Did the install myself. Only tricky part is replacing the door speakers. I ordered mine new from the factory (i live in hardy, arkansas) in nov, 2013, and have 20,000 on it now. Make sure you are buying a brabus model and not one that is being passed off as one. I have seen it happen. You can not tell by the vin. Brabus in our country is all appearance and no engine changes.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 07:08 PM
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Red face

Color is always a very personal decision. I like black cars even though they do require a bit more cleaning. I like the black Brabus models but I feel the all white Brabus models to be one of the best looking smart cars available. Yellow of course is the best color but white and black are next in line.

The US Brabus models do not go any faster than the regular US smart cars. They do however have a more aggressive suspension and some fun looking bodywork. The stock Brabus wheels are rather fragile and bend easily in some minor pot holes. Some people like the large 17" wheels on the back of the Brabus but 17" wheels have very little air between the road and the rim. More bends in the rim and more bruises on your behind.

The Brabus has a different front and rear lower valence, a rear center exhaust, a trim piece above the rear wheel arches, a Brabus logo on the fuel door, metal pedal covers, a Brabus brake handle, special Brabus suspension, and Brabus mats. Other than that they are just like regular smarts.

I have a cabrio and an electric drive coupe. I like the cabrio best as it is easier to put my briefcase in the trunk, the mechanics have never failed on the two cabrios I have owned, and enjoying the open air driving is fantastic. But if the wind is too high, or the sun is too bright, or if the rain starts to fall, you can motor the top up even at highway speeds. I enjoy the look of the cabrio when I store the side bars in the tailgate...no other car looks like it. The cabrio doesn't seem noisy to me nor does it seem harder to keep warm or cool. Winter is a great time to buy a cabrio as the dealer will have a harder time selling them at that time of year.

I would not recommend you to make a hasty decision...there are some great bargains but you need to do your homework and do not limit yourself to only looking close by. Use tools like ebay (sometimes frustrating,) cars.com, autotrader, etc. Find one that has warranty and low miles. The search can be a fun experience but so it without a deadline so you can optimize your find. Be willing to fly to the dealer and drive home...it can be well worth it and gives you time to enjoy your new ride and make plans for modding it to make it yours.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 07:19 PM
 
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Yea. While the Brabus DOES have some nice styling to it... there is nothing there to make it perform better. My previous Smart was a 2009 Brabus ForTwo... and while i did love it, and got numerous comments about how it looked different from other Smart's at the time... i kinda feel like the price premium i paid wasn't worth it. ESPECIALLY once the rear wheels got dinged up so much that repair was impossible and they were basically 17" paperweights.

Personally, i'd either look for one that might NOT be a Brabus, but is fully loaded with the heated seats and everything.... or go the extra mile and get a 2016 for the extra performance and stability features.... plus a longer warranty period.

As for Coupe vs. Cabrio.... I have to agree with Steven on that one. While the idea of being able to drop the top IS nice... I just don't trust people. Very easy to vandalize. All it'd take is a knife. Plus i can't imagine them being any better with keeping out the sound of rushing air... or the cold...
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by stevenvillatoro View Post
What year is the white Brabus? With a smart, its model year can be important to some buyers, due to key upgrades. You might negotiate a better price than you imagine, especially if it's been on the market for a while.

Coupe vs. Cabrio is a personal decision. I've had many non-smart convertibles, but would likely never buy another. I find them initially intriguing, but then they become too hot, too noisy, too windy, too poor visibility, too much maintenance and care, too subject to vandalism, etc., etc. Fortunately, others will disagree, as they should!

With a used smart, I'd be wanting a warranty with more than 12,000 miles remaining, if possible. With a longer warranty, if you later decided that a smart weren't for you, you'd still be able to pass along more warranty to a subsequent buyer. And don't kid yourself, if you get one with 12K miles of warranty remaining, that you'll get it sorted out in that time and never have another issue ? I'd never own a smart out of warranty. But again, that's personal, and many may disagree.

Lastly... black? Never again, unless you're into cleaning your car ALL the time. Plus, they get hotter; I've spent lots of time in Arkansas in the summer ? no, thanks!

Widen your search? Many people shop farther away, and you'll find more availability in major smart markets around the country, often at better prices due to competitiveness.

Finding the right one should not be rushed. Spend time driving as many smarts as you can, so that you'll learn to evaluate a good buying opportunity from a bad one.

Good luck!
Steven,

Thanks for the well thought out response. It seems indicative of the type of members this forum attracts and the type of people that are attracted to Smart Cars and what the vehicles represent. Smart car drivers are intelligent, dare to be different and appreciate people that are forward thinking enough to consider the Smart Car lifestyle.

Both the white and black Brabus are 2014 models. I just sold a black car and black can be a royal pain and HOT! My first choice is white when choosing a car. White never looks as good as black when clean, but white looks better the majority of the time. I like that bright color vehicles are easier to see from a safety perspective than black is by other drivers. The good news is Smart Cars are easier to wash due to their size. ?

I spent the day negotiating the price on both vehicles. The white car ended up at $9,300 and the black car $6,500. The only difference between the two is the black car has Nav and the white car 24k less miles. I also have to spend $600 to transport the white car from 14 hours away. By the time I fly to pick up the car, stay in a hotel and pay for fuel, I'd rather not put the extra miles on the car for so little cost savings. The Black car is only two hours from where I'm located. As much as I like the white Brabus, it would cost me $3,000 more than the black one and the white doesn't have Nav.

Seems the black Brabus is being chosen for me. In regard to the Cabriolet, if I could have located a Brabus convertible, I would have chosen it if the increase in price was reasonable.

I wish I had more time to wait for more cars to become available, but I sold my only vehicle last week and need transportation soon. I looked for Smart cars in the Continental United States and found only two white Brabus models and both were much higher than $6,500. An average of $3,000 higher price for the white Brabus, is just too high. Plus it will cost me a cool $1,000 to upgrade the stereo in both white cars. I'm surprised no Brabus convertibles were anywhere to be found in the country.

My choices in order of color is white, yellow and black, but I prefer a matching tridium cell. If an all yellow Brabus was available, I'd have been very interested. The sales woman said how classic the black looked and how "cute" the City Flame was. That made my decision right then and there. Lol

I'm aware of the differences between a Brabus model and standard fortwo. I'm hoping the Brabus has a more aggressive exhaust note than the standard 451 and possibly a few more hp due to exhaust design.

I wish I had more options, but I'm running out of time. The black Brabus is at a Mercedes dealer. They gave it a 90 point inspection, changed the fluids and put 4 new tires on the car. They promised to take it to the body shop and paint any small imperfections due to rock chips, etc.

After the thoughtful responses I received from everyone, I wanted to provide an update in my Smart Car search.

I appreciate the useful feedback.

Kevin
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:32 PM
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Other than the exhaust, springs and rims, there isn't that much of a difference between the Brabus and a regular Passion. you could always change the exhaust and tires and make up your own Brabus. I know they did offer a special service contract on the Brabus rims because they had so may issues with them. I would go with some aftermarket rims, all the same size, and oversize tires for the better ride and handling, but that is just me.

I have had a few convertibles over the years and for me they are more of a pain in the roof than anything.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 09:14 AM
 
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You could ask the dealers to swap brand new yellow panels for black, at their cost (and with no labor charge). You would get a great exterior color and still save money!
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the great information. I agree with everything you said. I'm not excited the Brabus I found has 38K miles on it, but I do like the $6,500 price tag. Nothing has jumped out at me regarding astronomical repair issues and I still have 12K miles to shake out any existing warranty issues.

Are you aware of any reoccurring problems with Smart Cars with higher mileage on them? If not, are there any repair costs that become cost prohibitive, even if they are infrequent and don't happen on a regular basis. Mine isn't electric, but I can imagine replacing a battery if I had one, would be very expensive. Have you seen any consistency with failures at particular mileage intervals on any of the Smart Cars?

When would you recommend selling a Smart Car and buying another, to keep from throwing good money after bad? ...or with the the proper maintenance, can a Smart Car keep going beyond 100K miles?

Last question? What did you do when your wheels became a problem? Did you replace them or buy 4 new wheels that weren't so expensive?

Thanks!

Kevin
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