In the world of celebrity cars, there's been a recent race to see who can acquire the most gargantuan ride, from Arnold Schwarzenegger's military-grade Unimog to the tricked-out full-size vans supposedly replacing the full-size SUV in many famous driveways. Which makes it somewhat refreshing to see a star -- in this case, "X-Factor" host Simon Cowell -- embrace something small, namely a souped-up version of the mini Smart convertible. Or at least, embrace it for a bit, as Cowell's looking to sell his rare ride now.
Tuned by Brabus, the German firm known for decking Mercedes models in fast and furious fashion, the Brabus Ultimate 120 Smart isn't available in America, even though sales of the Smart have doubled this year. Starting with the 70-hp three-cylinder engine in the Smart ForTwo cabriolet, Brabus somehow turns up the wick to 118 hp, then throws in a new suspension, tires, brakes and other bits to make the Smart handle less like a pair of children's rollerskates. After all that attention, Brabus says the Ultimate Smart will hit 62 mph in 8.9 seconds, about as fast as a stock Honda Civic, but with the thrill of being the smallest vehicle on any given road.
Cowell's Smart isn't just any Brabus, but the first of a 120-vehicle limited edition, with all of its black-on-black leather and alcantara interior parts "designed personally by Simon." The price on the board at this weekend's Smart festival in Britain translates to roughly $56,000. Hey, no one said looking like a celebrity would be cheap, even in a Smart.
Photo: Smart UK via Twitter