From its 71-hp 3-cylinder engine to its box-shaped proportions, the Smart Fortwo maintains every facet of minimalist methodology. The car is intentionally designed for those looking to scale down, but companies like Pioneer and Al & Ed’s Autosound insist that Smart owners should not settle for subpar when it comes to premium audio equipment. From the factory, even the Brabus Smart Fortwo—the brand’s highest trim offering—is equipped only with two small speakers and cheap plastic head unit. Robb Report enlisted the help of the experts at Pioneer (for premium sound equipment) and Al & Ed’s Autosound of West Hollywood, California (for installation expertise), to create the optimum audio upgrade for our personal Brabus Smart Fortwo. The results are resoundingly extraordinary.
First and foremost, it was imperative for every aftermarket component to fit into the car without detracting from the already cramped interior space of the Smart Fortwo. Tucked away behind the passenger seat, the 400-watt Pioneer PRS-A900 amplifier ($1,700) powers the entire audio system and provides a distortion-free sound quality with independent left and right power supplies. Al & Ed’s professional proficiency is showcased in their ability to incorporate the Pioneer TS-C720PRS component speakers ($550) into both door panels and the Pioneer TS-SW841D eight-inch shallow subwoofer ($160) beneath the passenger floorboard footrest without diminishing an inch of legroom. “The thin subwoofer fits like it was designed for the Smart Fortwo,” says Elie Rothstein, owner of Al & Ed’s Autosound. “No one would even know it’s there except for the fact that it delivers a huge bass sound.”
The only component designed to stand out is the Pioneer AVIC-X910BT in-dash navigation head unit ($1,000). The 5.8-inch touch screen reveals a crystal-clear digital display and is capable of connecting to your iPod—or other MP3 players—and making voice-actuated hands-free Bluetooth phone calls from paired phones. Its full-color screen is a vibrant addition to the Fortwo’s interior and fits seamlessly into the center console. Performing thousands of audio upgrades each year for unique cars like the Smart Fortwo, Al & Ed’s Autosound was the obvious choice for installation, and Pioneer continues to roll out premium audio equipment year after year.
For 2010, Pioneer introduced their all-new Stage 4 ultra-high-end audio system at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. Installed in a modified Lexus IS-F, the Stage 4 audio components consisted of a new single CD tuner/digital media player, four new high-performance amplifiers, the new PRS series component speakers and subwoofer. These new products will be made available to customers between the months of March and June, with a suggested retail price range of $500 to $1,500—depending on the individual component. (Al & Ed’s Autosound, 310.854.5454, www.al-eds.com and Pioneer, 800.854.5454, www.pioneerelectronics.com)