Well, the 2009 4 page Brabus brochure didn't specifically state anything about the special tuning, but my thought was that they didn't want to document that the regular smart might have a transmission that was "inferior" so that didn't surprise me. However, every major publication reported on it during the car's introduction in late 2008/early 2009:
Car and Driver said "the five-speed automated manual transmission was special tuned for improved shifting."
Popular Mechanics said "The off-the-shelf, 70-hp three-banger remains otherwise untouched, though the five-speed automated manual gearbox has been tuned for improved shifting during stop-and-go traffic."
The introductory materials from the LA Auto Show said: "The BRABUS is powered by the same state-of-the-art, compact, three-cylinder gasoline engine as the current fortwo that has a capacity of 61 cubic inches, producing an output of 70 hp (52 kW). The vehicle's five-speed automated manual transmission has been tuned for improved shifting, especially in the stop-and-go traffic of urban driving."
My own experience bore all this out. When we test drove the regular smart car (three times - three different cars) you could tell the transmission wasn't very smooth - and we drove the 2009 model which was supposedly improved over the 2008 model. But the Brabus had a much easier to drive transmission - much easier to avoid being jerky in it, so I definitely have had the impression that it was tuned in a different manner than what went into the conventional smart cars.
By the way, I have now had an email from smartusa and they had been trying to call me but were using the wrong area code which is why I never heard from them. They inform me that the 2011 flash upgrade for the computer in earlier smart cars is available OPTIONALLY if an owner complains about lag in the transmission shift pattern of their car. I will take their email with me when I have my car serviced and post prominent signs around my car N0T TO FLASH the computer in the car.
George Oller said:
I have had my 09 Brabus for 23 months. I have read many reviews stating the transmission was programmed for 20% faster shifting, but have never found actual info to that effect. Do you have a factual source stating the reprogrammed transmission? This has been discussed at length on SCoA forum, but most people feel there is no difference. As stated in my other post, I have only driven one non-Brabus car and that was for about one mile in late 07 when the Road Tour came to my town. I don't feel the lag on upshifts in my car as others have described on the Pure/Passion. Thanks for all your help and I will look forward to reading your transmission programming information. George
2009's had different shifting software than 2008's and the Brabus was a 2009...
2008's were pretty much all updated as they went in for service.
I have 2 2009 smarts....a pure and a Brabus. There is a huge difference in shifting. Brabus shifts smoother, yet quicker. I thought it was just a quirk between my 2 cars, until I read this thread....