Auf der Felbertauernstraße. Foto: Sabine Metzger

smart #3 driving report: scenic pass road trip

By Sabine Metzger

Sometimes the journey is the reward. This certainly applies to the weekend drive from Munich to South Tyrol in the new smart #3 Premium, our test vehicle for the current eMove360° magazine in german language. After some traffic jams are indicated on the Brenner route, we spontaneously decide to take the Felbertauernstraße and cruise south on what is certainly one of the most beautiful routes: from Munich via the Inntal triangle through the Wilder Kaiser/Brixental mountain doctor region to Kitzbühel. Continue via Pass Thurn to Mittersill in the Hohe Tauern National Park, where the Felbertauern Road begins. After crossing the Felbertauern tunnel, the panoramic enjoyment continues on the East Tyrolean side from Matrei to Lienz – from the Lienz Dolomites to the South Tyrolean Dolomites. From the East Tyrolean to the South Tyrolean Pustertal. In Dobbiaco we turn south and after three kilometers we reach Lake Dobbiaco. Framed by the Sesto Dolomites and the Fanes-Sanes group.

Three Peaks, Marmolada & Co.: summit view from the car: The peaks of the Dolomites rise into the sky through the panoramic glass roof of the smarts #3. After a night in the Sky View Chalets on Lake Dobbiaco, we cruise to the famous Dobbiaco Three Peaks View, the only viewpoint of the north faces of the Three Peaks from the valley, reach Lake Dürrensee a little later and then the tranquil village of Schluderbach. The rugged rock faces of Monte Cristallo and the Hohe Gaisl stand guard. From now on, it’s all downhill, past a small lake and the chapel of Ospitale until the valley basin of the Olympic town of Cortina d’Ampezzo opens up. Fare un giro: we join the locals and fashionable guests and stroll through the pedestrian zone, press our noses against the shop windows of the countless boutiques of renowned fashion designers and drink Aperol Spritz in the sun.

Giro d’Italia: Our next destination is Alta Badia. But first we have to wind our way up the endless hairpin bends and climbs towards the Falzarego Pass (2109 m), one of the legendary passes of the Dolomite stages of the Giro d’Italia. The peaks of Lagazuoi, Col Gallina and its majesty Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites, greet you. The route then turns right to the Valparola Pass (2192 m). During the First World War, this was the border between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. At the top of the pass, the “Tre Sassi” fortress houses the First World War Museum. We cruise on downhill to San Cassiano in Alta Badia, which lies at the foot of the Lavarella and Conturines mountain ranges. After a cappuccino in the tranquil village of San Cassiano, we take the Brenner highway via Brunico towards Munich.

Our travel companion: smart #3 Premium: The protagonist of our road trip to and through South Tyrol is the new smart #3 Premium. Like its predecessor #1, the second electric model from smart has nothing in common with the cuddly original smart with which the brand was launched over 25 years ago. The second model of the new smart generation is almost as long as a Mercedes GLA and comes in the form of a sporty crossover coupé.

Great for mountain passes: One-pedal drive: The smart#3 is the kind of travel companion you want. Especially for our pass road marathon: it climbs the countless hairpin bends and serpentines calmly and serenely and recuperates superbly when driving downhill. Its range is decent. The top speed is limited to 180 km/h. The voice assistant is not really a pain in the neck. It warns you exactly once if you are going too fast and tells you how many km/h you are exceeding the speed limit by. It does not repeat itself obtrusively. Its warning of electronic speed cameras is reliable and helpful. The sudden “OK” from our digital companion when we are talking also makes us smile.

Brilliant: the 360-degree camera: the standard panoramic roof (cannot be opened) makes the interior appear even larger and brings light and airiness into the homely interior. A large central display dominates the cockpit. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition and a 360-degree camera with amazingly sharp images are all standard. The test vehicle, the smart #3 Premium, also has a head-up display, adaptive high beam and an automatic parking assistant. Buttons can only be found on the steering wheel, all settings are made via the touchscreen in the center. The driver and front passenger seats are separated by a T-shaped center console with numerous storage and stowage options. Cool: there is a separate compartment for glasses above the rear mirror. Also cool and warm: the steering wheel heating. Two cup holders and a smartphone tray for inductive charging are available behind individual covers in the center console.

Suitable for traveling: The space: The five-seater #3 offers plenty of legroom in the rear seats and, despite the sloping roofline, also plenty of space upwards. There is also plenty of space in the trunk. We are well packed for our weekend in South Tyrol: all our mountain sports equipment plus two small suitcases and rucksacks fit in easily.

Desirable: Loading route planning: There is some catching up to do in terms of loading route planning. According to the manufacturer, however, a software update should rectify this in the near future. We are misdirected to an 11 kW charging station in a residential area in Raubling near Rosenheim, do not dock, but instead head for the Ionity charging station in Holzkirchen. But just 300 meters further down the road, an Aral Pulse charging station comes to our rescue. 150 kW – only 25 minutes for a charge to 80 percent. Just the right break for a refreshment in the store and to play around with the settings. It’s slowly getting dark. We test which ambient lighting suits us best. Monochrome, two-tone or themed – we opt for two-tone and cruise the last 50 kilometers to Munich bathed in warm orange and dark pink light.

CONCLUSION: The smart#3 SUV coupé impresses with its dynamic driving performance, first-class recuperation, decent range and ample space.

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14.03.2024   |  

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