Smart Fourjoy Concept previews a bigger, better future
Previewing a number of styling cues and design features that will be found in its first 4-seat model due to launch at the end of 2014, the Smart Fourjoy Concept makes its debut in Frankfurt. Although the open-air configuration of this one-off won't be part of the production Forfour formula, smart boss Dr. Annette Winkler confirms that other elements in this design study will be making that transition. "Numerous details of previous show cars that received very positive feedback have been incorporated in the Fourjoy. The exterior proportions already reveal a lot about the appearance of our 4-seater production smart."
Presenting a bolder and more substantial character than any previous Smart vehicle, the Fourjoy Concept matches pearlescent white body panels and petroleum-colored accent bits with the most prominent iteration yet of the automaker's signature "Tridion" passenger protection structure, rendered here in polished aluminum to emphasize the brand's premium character. The more upright front fascia and honeycomb grille detailing recall aspects of the earlier Smart For-us and Forstars show cars, while the Fourjoy's rear treatment hearkens back to the original Smart production models and integrates the taillamps - full LED units, just like the headlamps - directly into the Tridion structure.
Motivation for the Smart Fourjoy comes from the same rear-drive powertrain elements used in the latest Smart Fortwo Electric Drive production model. It consists of a 74-horsepower motor that develops 96 lb-ft of torque and is energized by a 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Smart claims it makes the Fourjoy "lively" to drive, although it quotes no additional performance figures. (For the record, the new Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has a city range of 76 miles and can hit 74 mph). Replenishing the battery takes about seven hours on a 240V line but can be trimmed to less than one hour at a dedicated fast-charging station using the car's 22kW on-board charger and rapid-charging cable.
Organically avant-garde, the design of the Fourjoy Concept's cabin is dominated by futuristic seating that teams a pair of single-piece shell-style buckets up front with a lounge-like bucketed rear combination unit. Both the seats and dash are supported by a single structural element that runs down the center of the vehicle and features a series of touch-sensitive switchgear that handles various on-board functions. The highly sculpted instrument panel features a circular gauge cluster similar to that in the original production Smart, while directional control is handled by an oval-shaped single-spoke steering wheel. Two smartphone docks -- one in the dash and the other in the console -- facilitate "cutting-edge connectivity and tailor-made entertainment for all four passengers."
While the Fourjoy's rear storage area is decidedly modest in scale, its does accommodate a pair of helmets to be used by passengers who decide to go gliding in the city on custom electric-powered skateboards that can be carried on the roof rails.
Expect additional details about the volume-build version of the Smart Forfour to be released during the next year. Along with presenting a more production representative variation on this 4-passenger theme, anticipate a design study for the next-gen Smart Fortwo to make its appearance, as well.
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