2016 Smart Fortwo makes American debut

By Bob Nagy on March 27, 2015 2:55 PM

Previewed last summer in European trim, the 2016 Smart Fortwo appears in full U.S. trim at the New York Auto Show. The new Fortwo reflects a significant update in style, space and available standard/optional equipment. Developed with Renault, this Gen II variant also benefits from all-new powertrain and suspension aimed at delivering what Smart promises will be a more engaging, fun-to-drive experience.

Redesigning the ultimate city car 

"In the planning phase we were clear that we wanted to retain the rear engine for the new Smart, so as to continue to exploit the vehicles' strengths to the full in the city," explains Jörg Prigl, head of the product group Compact Cars at Mercedes-Benz. While the Fortwo's 8.8-foot overall length is virtually unchanged, this new iteration is roughly four inches wider. That proportion helps improve its dynamics and cabin accommodations while retaining exceptional maneuverability in tight confines. The Fortwo's signature Tridion safety cell has been redesigned using a more sophisticated combination of ultra-high strength steel to provide greater protection in the case of a crash. In addition to its existing safety systems, the new Fortwo expands its standard equipment list with Crosswind Assist and offers Forward Collision Warning as an option. 

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All U.S. versions of the 2016 Fortwo - Pure, Passion, Prime and Proxy - will share a new Renault-sourced turbocharged 898cc/3-cylinder engine that makes 89 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque. It can be paired with a standard 5-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed "Twinamic" dual-clutch automatic - a new Getrag-designed unit that improves upon the automated manual in the Gen I Smart. While performance and fuel economy numbers have not been released, the Fortwo will reach a top speed of 96 mph. Underpinning this new Smart is an all-new suspension that complements its enhanced control with more compliance. Those seeking more agility can opt for a Sport Package that adds 16-inch alloy wheels and drops the ride height by nearly half an inch. 

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In addition to upgrading the basic design of the more accommodating interior, Smart richened the features on all 2016 Fortwo models. Even the baseline Fortwo Pure boasts a multifunction steering wheel, instrument cluster with 3.5-inch color display and trip computer, exterior temperature indicator with frost warning, power steering, power windows/central locking, cruise control, Smart radio with CD player, Bluetooth hands-free/audio streaming and LED running lights. Stepping up through the Passion/Prime/Proxy hierarchy brings everything from leather upholstery and heated seats to a panoramic roof and premium JBL sound system. Other extras include a Smart Media-System with 7.0-inch display, rear parking assist and LED lighting.

Set for a grand entrance 

For its launch, the new Fortwo also will offer a distinctive Edition #1 Package that features white body panels with a lava orange Tridion safety cell, panoramic glass roof, LED lighting, fog lamps and the Sport-spec suspension with black-finish 16-inch alloys. Inside, the Edition #1 Package has black/orange/gray fabric trim with leather accent elements, a 3-spoke sport steering wheel, brushed stainless sport pedals and velour floor mats. The 2016 Smart Fortwo arrives in dealers here this September. Pricing, EPA numbers and additional details will be released closer to the actual on-sale date.

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