A quick glance at the instruments confirms that this third-generation electric Smart ForTwo can do something neither of the previous two iterations could manage: it can put my licence in jeopardy. As the quivering needle confirms, the new Smart Electric Drive can break the national speed limit without the aid of a steep hill – officially flat out is 78mph, whereas generations 1 and 2 were governed to stay below 60mph.
There are lots of reasons why travelling so fast isn’t a good idea in this battery-powered Smart, so I slow down a bit. The energy needed to cleave through the air will chop down the car’s battery reserves at an alarming rate – if I aim to approach the car’s official 90-mile range I’ll need to choose a much more moderate speed. Plus, the Smart is not exactly a natural high-speed cruiser. Short and tall proportions might make the car a breeze to park but they do nothing for straight-line stability. Crosswinds and bumps unsettle the electric Smart more than is strictly reassuring.