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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Lowering My Sharp Red?

I bought a pretty dope Smart Car: Sharp Red last year. 15k miles for $8,000. It's the love of my life, and my own little affordable sports car, since the color combo is so sleek. (Black leather seats with red stitching makes it all come full circle). I'm pretty sure only two Sharp Reds exist in California.

Anyways! I'm finally getting around to putting some classy mods on it.
As far as small and somewhat affordable mods go...
I'm getting red spikes on the back, my inside panel trim is all painted red, soon i'll be getting a red front lip and red spoiler installed, and even though my sharp red came with stock tinted windows already because its a special edition, I want to go darker, as dark as I can for the California legal limit. I also want to get red caliper covers soon. And finally, I blacked out both Smart logos, that were originally the stock silver color.

My bigger, more pricier mods tho, I wanted to get some opinions on...
I live in Hollywood, so I'm not too far of a drive from Smart Madness in Long Beach, so I'd be getting these mods done there, but I'd really like to lower my Smart Car to give it that sporty race car look.
But like, good idea or bad idea? Would this make the driving experience way more bumpy and the pot holes worse? I know lowering isn't as drastic for smart cars as it is for other cars, so I wouldn't have to go over speed bumps sideways or anything, right? Basically anyone who's had experience with a lowered smart car, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Also, I'd love to eventually replace the exhaust on my car, to get a louder, throatier one. Does anyone have any recommendations for exhausts?

And finally, I don't know a ton about cars to be honest, which shouldn't come as a surprise after reading my post haha, but browsing the Smart Madness website, I was wondering if it would be worth it to purchase the Silicon Intake Hose and the BMC Air Filter? Do people really see a difference with those? Is it worth the extra $175?

Thanks guys!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 03:22 AM
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I installed a BRABUS suspension in my 2011 and very glad that I did. I have lowering springs in my 2005, it stays very flat cornering but the overall ride is less than pleasant. If you prefer ride comfort over handling, leave the suspension alone.

Anything other than the budget intake mod is a waste of time and money.

If you get an aftermarket exhaust make sure it is rear exit. I have a SOLO side exit exhaust and had it modified to exit out the back. Too much low frequency noise bounced of the road and made its way inside.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 03:34 AM
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I put the silicone hose on with a k and n drop in filter and a Bosch exhaust, it felt a little stronger to me, also changed the front motor mount trying to help with the transmission lag. I lowered the rear by changing the springs, but to me the car felt like the suspension was way too soft, anyway, there are a few things you can do with your Smart, a lot of knowledgeable people on this site who love to talk Smart to you(jk), Good luck, and welcome from Savannah, Ga...
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 05:53 AM
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Not sure about the silicone intake hose, but you may be in the same boat as me with my intake, and end up having to swap out every few years with stock for smog testing. I have no first hand experience yet but you could have issues with visual inspection after installing the silicone hose.

The intake is the only thing I've done to my Smart so far that would cause smog check issues but only takes 5 minutes to swap out and I like the sound.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 06:32 AM
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Just wondering about the 'Brembo' brake covers. I've read mixed reviews of them, one of them being that they trap heat since they are plastic and not metal, Also wondering how they fit, the 'kits' look like one size fits all and some modification is required. Would it be better to just have your drums and callipers painted red?

I've been toying with the idea of installing a K&N air filter in my smart. I run K&N's on all our cars and trucks for many years. I think they give a slight performance boost though I suspect the bulk of it is psychological...... I might avoid this route if I drove in very dusty/dirty conditions unless you are diligent about cleaning and oiling. Boost wise I don't know if it will make enough of a difference in HP and performance to be useful.

My smart is an 09 Brabus, I really like the sound of the exhaust. It is not loud but has just enough of a growl that I like. I'm surprised that it doesn't actually increase performance as I have installed cat back SS systems in other cars with a noticeable difference though I also do a K&N or CAI install as well. Flip side is, just how much more powerful do you need to make your smart? I find mine is strong enough as it is.

The wider tires make quite a difference at speed but the downside with the Brabus is that the profile is so low that pot holes can severely damage my rims. I bought mine used and I do have one bad hit. I find the ride a bit firmer then perhaps some would appreciate but I got used to it, car feels planted on the highway at speed.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 12:10 PM
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Lowering springs on a smart will make the ride stiffer. After some time the springs will settle some and the coating on the springs will start to come off allowing surface rust. That is the point where I removed them from my car and put the originals back on.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 03:17 PM
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If you can find a Brabus suspension setup, I would buy it. It will lower the car by 10mm and add a stable, but not too firm of a ride. The overall handling will be greatly improved. My car is eight years old and there is no paint flaking on the springs or Bilstien shocks.

As to the Brembo brake caliper covers, here is my take on them. I have had them on for about six years. They are plastic, but do not warp or cause any heat build up. Mine are the "3-D" style with the white raised letters on a red background. You will need at least a 16" front wheel to have proper clearance. My fronts are 17".

I think you will feel more "seat of the pants" performance from the Smart Madness "Go Pedal" than the cold air intake.

I have been playing with different size wheel spacers lately to get a more flush tire/fender lip look. Currently, I have Eibach 30mm rear spacers and Eibach 20mm front spacers.

Take a look at my gallery to see some of my mods. Some you may like, others, not so much, but it will give you an idea what can be done. My car is very subtle, but a lot of work had been put into it by me. I have done all my mods, as I am retired and on Social Security and money is not as available as it used to be.

Good luck with you car and the "Sharp Red" is a very cool special edition.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 04:22 PM
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I second all the opinions on the Brabus factory suspension, ride height, and exhaust...
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 08:49 PM
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I totally second or third the Brabus suspension but don't count on it making your Sharp Red look lower. It will however make you more confident and faster in twisty road situations or on track. I would recommend that you do not change the exhaust until you put in a smart Madness cold air induction including the silicone tube. It might make the car feel faster but it will certainly make you feel like it is going faster due to the wonderful sound that it produces...with no drone. I purchased an aftermarket exhaust but installed the CAI first and decided to sell the exhaust which another SCOA smartaholic was happy to take off my hands.
I hear the go pedal makes the car feel quicker.
But the mod that I recommend first is to get four 6.5 " wheels and 195/50/15 tires...I purchased the genius wheels and I get no rubbing whatsoever, better grip in twisties and on track, and a much more stable car on the highway in windy situations and semi truck encounters.
Paint the calipers and hubs...easy and looks good.
The Sharp Red is what it is advertised as...very sharp looking inside and out.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help everyone, you really made my decision making a lot easier.
Also, I took a look at my smart car today and compared it to some pictures online of lowered smarts and compared the two.
Are the Sharp Reds already lowered somewhat, compared to other 2013 Smart Cars?
Mine looked lower then other smarts I saw, but maybe thats just my eyes deceiving me.
I bought my smart from a small Mercedes licensed dealer in California (Around Inland Empire area), so I didn't get the full list of everything that was included. Dude didn't know much about Smarts to begin with, and just bought it off someone cause he thought it looked cool. So not sure of all my included specs, and haven't been able to find a full length list of them online.
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