The wait is over and the third generation of the city dwelling two-seater has been revealed, together with its eagerly awaited, four-door bigger sibling.
In front of a big media audience in Berlin, the Smart brand finally reinvented itself, although judging from the exterior the two cars feature an evolutionary – not revolutionary – design. Daimler AG has been betting – and losing – on the tiny cars since 1998, but hopefully the new generations – which were finally developed toghether – will find their right place in the highly competitive automotive industry.
Smart dubbed the duo the “urban original” and the “smart among the four-seaters” and to signal the importance of the reveal, at the launch event were present Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Dr Annette Winkler, Head of Smart.
Both the all-new ForTwo and ForFour are inspired by the brand’s recent concepts – featuring as always the two-tone paint scheme that has come to represent the trademark of the little cars. If we decided to get picky, the two-seater clearly resembles both the first and second generations, while the bigger model is a clear – and welcomed – departure from the 2004-2006 Forfour, which was actually a derivative of the Mitsubishi Colt.
“No-one combines functionality and emotionality as well as we do, as the inventors of individual urban mobility,” says Smart’s head, Annette Winkler. “The new smart fortwo and forfour adopt the proven concept while offering more of just about everything – more space, more colour, more equipment … and even more fun in the city!”
The biggest changes come to the front and rear – where we can find bigger, bolder headlights and taillights. The Tridion cell is visibly present, and Mercedes-Benz even demonstrated its efficiency in a crash-test against the top of the range S-Class.
“The well-proven tridion cell forms the basis for the high crash safety of the new smart. It ensures efficient energy absorption in a frontal impact. To this end, the crumple zones of the new smart have been made as large as possible. Homogeneous application of force in the structure is achieved with several load paths”, says Professor Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of Vehicle Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars, describing the good crash result.
Fortunately, the revolution did grasp at least one aspect of the cars – the interior. While funky and clever on the outside and really practical on the inside (we’re talking about the ForTwo) – the model disappointed – especially for the price tag – when it came to the treatment of the cabin. It’s all in the past now, with a fresh and bold interior – available in three trim levels: Passion, Prime, and Proxy.
The cars are very small – as it would be expected – at 2.69 and 3.49 meters respectively, but they’re around 10 cm wider, which will boast the interior space accordingly. Also, they come with a new chassis and suspension – the front takes cues from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, while the back sits on a revised De Dion axle.
The range of engines is just as small – three-cylinder engines with either a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre petrol good for 71 HP and 91 Nm, or the more powerful variant that comes with a 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol good for 90 HP and 135Nm. Both are delivered with a five-speed manual or a new six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.