Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I acquired my 3rd smart last night. I have had a white 2009 Passion ( put 115k miles) and a red 2013 pure (put 36k miles). In September I ordered a 453 Passion with Titania Grey exterior color and cool silver for tridion. Interior in black/orange. Manual.

Over the years I have called my smart cars my mini 911s, as they have very similar characteristics to pre-991 (911) generation of Porsche cars. The biggest lack of character on the 451 as we all know has been the transmission. Therefore I thought I had to get this one in manual as I’m sure it would be a lot fun.

Cliff notes on my order. Car ordered mid September, $1000 deposit, car arrived at Long Beach on the 10th of December. Cleared Customs on the 12th. To this day, my ordered car has been stuck at the port with no ETA & no information from dealer of when it’s to be delivered(I’m 300 miles from LB which makes it very upsetting). I’m upset. My lease on my 2013 runs out January 6th, as of the 31st December dealer still had no ETA or information for me. Therefore I just went to a different dealership and purchased a Blue/black on black Pure in manual off the lot.

-Engine- low & mid power band--- leaps and bounds better. Haven’t gone over 4,500 but I can tell it starts to die up top. Need’s a flash & exhaust.
-Engine sound- WTF ?! At least some noise would be good--- WAY too quiet. Will see how I can delete secondary catalytic converter (if it has one) to give it a bit of noise and better top end power.
-Weight- Feels way heavier than before. Maybe COG is higher now with this car.
-Brakes- Never overheated the 451’s and I would drive very fast on local mountain roads and on track. 453, over heated already this morning on local back roads …. And I don’t use brakes much.
-Dead pedal- 451 was perfect. 453 annoying position
-clutch – way too soft for my liking but I can’t compare to my other manual cars, just not fair.
-Gearbox- I like it a lot for DD.
-pedals – I miss the 451 floor mounted pedals a lot. Could really modulate the brakes. 453 pedals are very close, therefore makes it a walk in the park to heal and toe, wish they were floor mounted just like older 911’s & 451.
-steering- really miss the non power steering wheel. So much feel. I’m assuming the 453 is electric. Feels numb compare to the 451 but not too bad compare to other marque new car’s with electric steering. The 451 steering reminded me of the GT and older 911 cars. Very precise and tons of feel & perfect weight when tossing the car and getting it up on 2 or 3 wheels mid turn.
-esp- 451 was not anywhere as intrusive as the 453s. When the ESP kicked in for the 451 it felt like ****, the 453’s is much better in the way it intrudes but it kicks in much sooner which makes it very difficult to trail brake into a turn.
-cabin noise- super quiet compare to 451
-shocks- BIG – MAJOR step forward. Day and night in damping.
-springs- extremely soft. Car needs to be stiffen up . Massive body roll compare to my 451s. When loading up the front going into a turn, the weight transfer is HUGE. I got a headache.

Now I know this is a city car – but I drive these things like I drive my 911’s.
Mods list for this car:
- ECU Flash
- Exhaust (just a bit of noise please and top end power)
- Needs stiffer springs badly
- I’m wishing that Smart releases an update for the ESP not to be so intrusive. Really annoying. Let the car turn on trail braking like before, please.
- 16 or 17” wheels and put some R888 or Michelin Super Sports.
- Get some brake cooling for the front.

With the above, this car will become VERY fun to drive.

The 453 is a step forward for the masses, but a step backwards for those of whom drive these cars like go karts. IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,545 Posts
Wow it's disappointing that the brakes are so poor. Maybe that is the Renault influence. Once I was driving a new Renault Supercinq over the Grossglockner Hochaplenstrasse and it TOTALLY lost the brakes on the descent, despite me engine braking and barely using them. Boiling fluid....they came back once the descent was over. That was in 1986.

It's a good insightful review, thanks for posting that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,297 Posts
I have a Prime stick shift, 2 Passion stick shifts, and a Pure stick shift. If anybody else out there is interested in a stick shift, please let them know about me. Thank you.

With regards to the above post, the 451 also had electric power steering. It just had a much heavier feel. I'm also glad you are willing to compare the smart to the earlier Porsche 911's. I agree, although I often hear criticisms about it when I compare the two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,476 Posts
453, over heated already this morning on local back roads …. And I don’t use brakes much.
Wow it's disappointing that the brakes are so poor. Maybe that is the Renault influence.
Sorry, I'm not buying the overheating brakes bit. How can the OP state getting a new 453 one night, and the next day report overheating brakes??

Treating new brakes with aggression, especially in a manner that would cause them to overheat, is generally considered a huge across-the-board no-no for the first 400-500 miles:

http://www.tirerack.com/brakes/tech/techpage.jsp?techid=85

To the OP, how did you determine the brakes overheated? I drove a loaner 453 (with sufficient miles on it) hard for a weekend with LOTS of twisty roads and rather vigorous braking with all sorts of brake-specific testing – and I had a completely different result. No fade; no loss of performance; and no bad attitude from them (something I couldn't say about my Abarth).

It makes no sense that Mercedes would design every system in the 453 with safety in mind, and somehow backslide on the brakes. ?!?

And (MikeT), to blame any/every unverified claim on Renault is absolutely preposterous.

I guess YMMV. My 453's brakes are working great.

Treat your brakes well when they're new, and they'll be good to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
The listed weight of the 453 manual is 176 pounds over the 451. I just traded my 2012 451 for the 453 automatic which is listed at 245 pounds heavier. I wanted a manual but there were no blue ones in the area and I'm not a fan of long distance dealer swaps, since you can't inspect the car until it arrives.

Despite the weight increase, I'm impressed with the improved acceleration of the automatic version over the 451-and you can still shift it sequentially if you wish.

Has anyone actually track tested the 453 for the 0-60 times? All of the reviews I've read seem to be quoting the factory figures. It feels like it could hit 60 in the high nines with a good launch and knowing the optimal shift points.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,493 Posts
I have almost 1K miles on my 453 auto and have not had any issues with brakes. As has been said, brakes must be treated properly and broken in. Yes, the brakes on the 451 were great. Guess I won't know for certain how mine are until I get in a similar situation but I agree that Diamler wouldn't have cheated on the brakes.

About steering: I, too, have thought there to be less feedback through the steering on the 453. It is pleasant but a little numb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,545 Posts
The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse story is absolutely true though. The 1986 R-5 had 10,000 km on it by then and the discs and pads were well bedded in because we had driven to Greece and back. I was amazed how poor disc brakes can be.

My Peugeot 404, which has huge 4 wheel finned drums and a monster booster was never a problem, even when rallying it hard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,476 Posts
About steering: I, too, have thought there to be less feedback through the steering on the 453. It is pleasant but a little numb.

If you read my first review, I had a similar impression of the steering feel. But honestly, my impressions of the steering were formed in the parking lot, where the speed-sensitive boost was at its greatest. Since then, I've had several hours of freeway time, and am backing off my concern. All modern cars have electric steering; that's just a fact of life. The steering on the 453 is delightful on a daily basis, whether in town OR on the freeway (where its boost is lowest). Overall, after living with the 453 for some time now, even the steering feels better-suited to unfrazzled and highly entertaining everyday driving in a broader range of speeds/situations. I wouldn't change a thing, based on its intended (non-Porsche) purpose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Glad some of you find the review useful. I should be more clear on the "overheating". I used the wrong word. Brakes just feel "mushy" and over sensitive vs. 451. They get mushier when driving harder. Compare to the 911s i get to drive the 453 brakes feels like a Toyota. That said the 451 felt much closer to a 911 vs. 453 in terms of "brake" feel. Come to think of it, the 453 kinda feels like a BMW M3 E90 from my recollection. I'm sure the brakes are more then adequate for DD just as a M3...but just not the feeling I personally like.

I'll do the upgrades i suggested and report back. Can't do anything about the ESP unfortunately- unless Smart reads these forums :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Great review. I was thinking about trading in my silver cabrio (87 K miles) for a 453. I think I will hold off. Just never liked Renault, I drove a LeCar and an R17 gordini in college, had to work on them all the time. These days, when in France on business I rent Clios, Meganes and Twingos, gutless cars. I wish Daimler had partnered with peugeot on the 453. Peugeots are indestructible, owned 2 505 Turbos (one was an S model with a stick), incredible cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,476 Posts
I was thinking about trading in my silver cabrio (87 K miles) for a 453. I think I will hold off. Just never liked Renault, I drove a LeCar and an R17 gordini in college, had to work on them all the time. These days, when in France on business I rent Clios, Meganes and Twingos, gutless cars.

The 453's engine is made in Japan; its transmission in Germany. The Fortwo is built by Mercedes, and has no Renault counterpart. If anyone can tell me what specific role Renault had in the 453 Fortwo engineering, I'm all ears. Probably every LeCar or Gordini engineer is dead, or soon will be. (Today, Renault engineers even get to use computers occasionally.) Even at that, there's no evidence that Renault injected a wive's-tale dose of yesteryear incompetence while Mercedes wasn't watching. And, any gutless French rental cars are baseless in a debate, as their underpowered motors are limited to that market by preference, legislation, taxation, etc. Given that the US 453 is 30% faster than the US 451 (apples to apples), "gutless" isn't a complaint likely to be heard from a move-up 451 owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,476 Posts
This appears to be an independent 0 to 100 km/h test. I don't know doesn't feel as slow as this test claims.

2016 Smart Fortwo Turbo with DCT Does Acceleration Test: 0 to 100 KM/H in 12.9s

thetruthaboutcars.com did an acceleration test with the DCT-equipped 453 (US spec) and got:

0-30: 3.5 seconds
0-60: 10.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.4 seconds @ 83 MPH

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/11/2016-smart-fortwo-review-honey-shrunk-mercedes-video/

Their 0-60 figure is .2 seconds faster than Mercedes claims for the DCT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,545 Posts
Peugeots are indestructible, owned 2 505 Turbos (one was an S model with a stick), incredible cars.
I am a Peugeot 404 man; our family got our first 404 Injection in 1966 and I still own an injected 404 Coupé to this day. Love them and have done since I got my first at age 20....nearly 36 years ago! 4 time Safari winner. Legend!
 

·
He's not mine
Joined
·
9,614 Posts
I was unfamiliar with the phrase "tail braking" and had to do a little research. How funny to find that I've been doing it all along in my 451 (although not as artistically as some). Yeah, I drive the little bugger on the hard side, it's what I like about the car. It's gratifying to make a turn, and then view the SUV which had been riding my ass, a couple blocks back after making a turn. {hold on Martha, we're going around a bend}

Thanks for the review. It adequately supports my view of the 451 being superior to the 453, even though I have yet to drive a 453.

There's lots to like about the 453. I want the DCT with paddles, for example. The JBL upgrade sounds promising, though I haven't heard it. Umm, I think I ran out of good things to mention. It's butt ugly, too big, and tries too hard to be ordinary. Other than that, you go 453!!.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top