We’ve already driven the Smart Roadster, but this is the first opportunity we’ve had to pilot a right-hand-drive version of its sister Roadster-Coupé on UK roads. Besides, it seems the obvious choice for everyday use, what with a 189-litre boot (103 more than the Roadster) in addition to the 59-litre cubby in the nose. Although mechanically identical, the £1000-dearer Roadster-Coupé offers a neat Suzuki Cappuccino-aping two-piece hard-top, air-con and wider 205/50 R15 tyres. But despite generous equipment levels – twin airbags, electric windows, ESP and brake assist – it’s expensive, particularly when you start adding options such as the £230 metallic paint and £495 leather trim. Buyers beware, careful specification is the key: the paddle-shift gearchange, for example, is a must, but buy it as part of the £655 sport pack and the larger 16-inch alloys mar the sweet ride. Star of the show is the wonderful turbo-charged triple. It revs freely, spinning away like a tiny V6, accompanied by an addictive flutter from the wastegate. Through the corners the Smart grips well and the ESP remains commendably unobtrusive. The electrically assisted power steering lacks feedback, but it darts into corners and always feels fun. Although Smart claims the familiar Tridion safety cell eliminates scuttle shake, there is some flex, most notably with the roof on, when the two halves can knock against each other on a rough road. The six-speed sequential transmission has closer-stacked ratios and, although its lethargy still irks, you soon learn to adapt your driving style and feather back the throttle for a smooth change. An extra 25kg blunts the Roadster-Coupé’s performance slightly, and it’s worth bearing in mind that to get the full 80bhp, you’ll need to track down a supply of 98RON fuel – the pay off being tiny CO2 emissions and negligible thirst. Although flawed, you can’t fault the Smart for fulfilling its brief simply by being so damn fun and cheeky. After all, isn’t that what small sports cars are all about? Alastair Clements

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