Completely redesigned, the all-new Smart Fortwo and Forfour were unveiled today in European trim. The new Smarts will go on sale in several markets this fall following their public debut at the Paris Auto Show. While Smart has confirmed we'll see at least the new Fortwo here in the fall of 2015, it has yet to determine the fate of a 4-passenger 4-door Forfour for the U.S. While maintaining the same relative exterior dimensions, the second-generation makeover endows this iconic microcar with "more of just about everything - more space, more color, more equipment -- and even more fun in the city," Smart ceo Annette Winkler said at the Berlin debut.
Developed with technical partner Renault, the new Smart set shares a good deal of the platform and powertrain engineering with the new Renault Twingo. Visually, the remake maintains the car's current size and rear-engine/rear-drive configuration, but the styling has a decidedly more substantial and upscale appearance thanks to its more pronounced nose, bolder grille and LED-infused taillamps. The Smart's signature tridion safety cell that surrounds the passenger compartment also underwent further development to improve its formidable crash protection -- which were once again validated in testing against Mercedes-Benz C-Class and S-Class models. The new Smart also adds a Crosswind Assist feature to enhance stability.
Better ride promised
All-new underpinnings that match MacPherson struts up front with a DeDion rear axle promise to greatly improve ride comfort for the new Smart while maintaining crisp responsiveness. Enthusiasts can take things on step further with a Sport package that brings stiffer springs and shocks plus a lower ride height. What hasn't changed is the Smart's ability to easily maneuver through the tightest confines. Despite modestly wider track and width dimensions, it still boasts the tightest turning circle spec of any competitive vehicle.
Initially, motivation for the new Smarts comes from a choice of two 3-cylinder gasoline engines: an 898cc triple that make 70 naturally aspirated horsepower and a 999cc turbocharged alternative that cranks out 90 ponies. Each can be paired with a 5-speed manual or optional Twinamic 6-speed dual-clutch automatic - an all-new design that promises to be better than the transmission in the current car. Shortly after launch, a 60-horse base engine also will join the lineup followed by a new Electric Drive model.
Available in Passion, Prime and Proxy trim grades on the Continent, the cabin of the new Smart displays a similar step up in character. Prominently sculpted dash and door panels are complemented by improved fit/finish, richer-looking fabrics, expanded color choices and enhanced accent elements that further add to the ambiance. Upscale options include real-time navigation, a premium JBL audio system and heated seats. Too soon to know exactly how much of this will be part of the U.S. mix, but it definitively sounds promising.
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