The #1 is the brand's biggest vehicle ever.
Unlike BMW, which has worked wonders with the Mini brand, Mercedes-Benz's Smart brand hasn't been quite as lucrative as it had hoped. In fact, the brand was pulled from North America a few years ago and, recently, the ForFour was axed from the global lineup.
But there's a good reason for this. There are two things the modern-day motorist can't seem to live with: efficiency and a crossover body style. As such, the brand has been developing an electric crossover called the #1. We first caught a glimpse of the newcomer in 2021, when the concept was unveiled at the Munich Motor Show.
Just a few months later, the Mercedes-Geely joint venture is now readying to unveil the production model, set to debut very soon. The new model is a big departure from previous models, sporting a far bigger body shell and more conventional styling cues.
The company notes that the marriage of Mercedes-Benz premium design and Smart engineering results in a "compelling proposition." The front headlights appear to be connected via a thin light strip, which bears resemblance to the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV. At the rear, there are hints of Mercedes in the taillights and C-pillar, with clear EQB influence. The flush door handles are a neat premium touch.
The company says the #1 will utilize a dedicated electric platform, meaning engineers could maximize interior space without creating an overly large body. Despite the fact that this is the marque's biggest vehicle yet, it's still relatively compact. The Concept #1 measures just 168.9 inches long 75.1 in wide; around the same size as the Mini Countryman. Based on the images of the production-ready test unit, it will likely mirror the concept's dimensions.
The electric crossover will be produced in China and is set to be offered for sale in Europe, in 2023. Of course, China will undoubtedly gain access to the EV; Mercedes-Benz has previously said China's youthful city dwellers will revitalize the forlorn brand. But Smart is expecting big things in other markets, too.
The company's UK CEO commented that the #1 is a "key milestone" in the transformation of the brand. "Our dedicated electric platform and [a] high degree of connectivity make for the ideal electric car to meet the needs of UK car buyers." The official unveiling of the Smart #1 electric crossover is set to take place on April 7, in Berlin.
Currently, there are no known plans to reintroduce the brand to the American market but, if positioned and priced correctly, the stylish EV may just have what it takes to succeed.