The next generation of the diminutive Smart line has been spotted undergoing cold weather testing in Northern Sweden near the Arctic Circle. These images of highly camouflaged Fortwo and Forfour models were culled from a promotional video released by Smart. While chief engineer Markus Riedel offered no technical details, he did note these all-new cars will be "fun to drive" as well as offer greatly improved ride quality when they launch in Europe late this year and subsequently arrive in the U.S. during the summer of 2015.
Co-developed with Renault, the upcoming Smart set reportedly shares nearly 70 percent of its main components with the French automaker's 2014 Twingo model. Like the current vehicles, they'll retain a rear-engine/rear-drive configuration. Motivation is expected to come from a pair of direct-injected Renault 3-cylinder gasoline engines that make 70 and 90 horsepower and gear changing will be done via a standard 6-speed manual or optional 7-speed automatic transmission. An all-electric variant also will be headed to U.S. showrooms, likely using a version of the powertrain found in the current Smart Fortwo ED. While Europe will get both body types, the 2-seat Fortwo will continue to be the sole Smart sold here.
Beneath their full psychedelic exterior wrap, these next-gen Smart cars appear to borrow several cues first seen on the funky open-air Fourjoy Concept that debuted last fall at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The clearest links come up front where the more upright fascia houses a larger grille and bigger headlamps. As for scale, reports out of Europe indicate the new Fortwo is slightly shorter but significantly wider than the current vehicle, changes that should improve both its interior packaging and vehicle dynamics. The upcoming Fortwo and ForFour also incorporate Smart's signature Tridion safety cell structure. The production versions of the new Smart cars are slated to debut this September at the Paris Auto Show.
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