The smart fortwo has undergone improvements in virtually all areas and is markedly more comfortable. The hallmark smart rear engine concept is being offered for the first time in the four-seater smart forfour as well. Drive power is supplied by state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines rated at 45kW/60PS, 52kW/71PS and 66kW/90PS, while power transmission is performed by a five-speed manual transmission or the twinamic automatic dual clutch transmission. A host of innovative details guarantee even more fun in the city. The new smart generation will be launched onto the market in Europe in November. The price for the smart fortwo with 52kW engine will be under 11,000 euros, while the smart forfour will cost only around 600 euros more with the same engine.
“As Europe’s youngest car brand, smart enjoys global success today. No-one combines functionality and emotion as well as we do, as the inventors of individual urban mobility. 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! Only the vehicle length remains as unique as ever, at 2.69 metres,” says smart boss Annette Winkler. “Our idea based on a total rethink of urban mobility has won through.”
“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. “On this basis, we then developed the new fortwo and forfour together with our partner, Renault.”
“Despite increased safety requirements, we have managed to retain the smart fortwo’s unique length of just 2.69 metres,” adds Markus Riedel, head of development at smart. “It shares its architecture with the new forfour. We have tailored both of the vehicles to the needs of modern-day city traffic. My team is particularly proud of the turning circle, which sets a brand new benchmark at just 6.95 metres for the fortwo.”
The brand appeals equally to both the heart and the mind. An expressive design idiom and colouring embody pure joie de vivre. The compact proportions and clever details attest to unique functionality. The new smart fortwo and the new smart forfour are clearly recognisable as members of the same family. Many design features such as the headlamps, the cooling air grille in the front and the iconic tridion safety cell are identical, for example. And both vehicles are fitted with rear engines, making them particularly agile in urban traffic.
“smart stands for FUN.ctional design, as the brand is defined by two poles – the heart and mind. The design idiom is clear, purist and trendy, and the hallmark smart attributes are being adopted into a new era. These attributes include the characteristic silhouette with the ultra-short overhangs, the clear lines and forms, the tridion cell and the updated smart face,” notes Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG.
Extreme agility and optimum use of space – more fun in the city
Short overhangs, minimal length, high steering angle. The new smart models have everything it takes to manoeuvre elegantly into any parking space – and around every corner, too. When it comes to the turning circle, the new smart fortwo sets a new benchmark: at 6.95 m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30 m (from wall to wall) it makes turning manoeuvres extremely simple. And the new smart forfour turns almost as compactly as the previous fortwo (wall to wall: 8.75 m). Its statistics are 8.65 m (kerb to kerb) and 8.95 m (wall to wall).
The new models also come up trumps once again with regard to the maximum of space packed into minimal dimensions, as documented by the excellent body space index. Additional highlights include the rear doors opening by almost 90° on the smart forfour and the folding front passenger seat backrest which comes as standard for all variants.
Real Life Safety – safety features
The essential safety concept embodied so successfully by the preceding models has been retained. Like a nut, the soft interior is protected from harm by a rigid shell: the tridion cell. A high proportion of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steel is now used on the new smart. In keeping with the Mercedes-Benz “Real Life Safety” philosophy, the focus in car-to-car crash tests was on compatibility with substantially larger and heavier vehicles. The new smart vehicles performed well in frontal collisions with the S- and C-Class.
Advanced assistance systems which were previously the reserve of higher classes of vehicle, further enhance safety and comfort. These include Crosswind Assist (standard), forward collision warning (option) and Lane Keeping Assist (option).
A new front axle design adopting elements of the previous Mercedes-Benz C-Class, an optimised De Dion rear axle, substantially increased spring travel all round, tyres with higher side walls and an unprecedented small turning circle are the highlights of the new chassis. The chassis and suspension of the new smart generation have been evolved on the basis of the experience acquired with previous smart models and designed for markedly enhanced ride comfort.
New three-cylinder engines, dual clutch transmission – the drive system
Two state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines will be available for the new smart models at the market launch: the naturally aspirated engine generates 52kW/71PS from a capacity of 999cc. The engine’s ample torque from an engine speed as low as 1000rpm (maximum: 91Nm at 2850rpm) enables particularly economical driving in high gears, even in urban traffic.
Top of the range is the turbo engine rated at 66kW/90PS. The 898cc engine mobilises maximum torque of 135Nm at 2500rpm. The totally new turbocharger features an electronically controlled wastegate which enables increased engine dynamics in conjunction with a sustainable reduction in fuel consumption. Another distinguishing feature is the automatic start/stop system.
Apart from the turbocharger, a whole range of other technical measures also contributes to the engine’s excellent fuel efficiency and performance. These include variable swirl control and variable adjustment of the inlet valves. Another defining trait of the all-aluminium three-cylinder engine is the square bore/stroke ratio. A few months after the market launch, a basic petrol engine rated at 45kW/60PS will extend the range.
Both transmission variants are also new for smart: customers can choose between a five-speed manual transmission and the twinamic six-speed dual clutch transmission.
Passion, prime and proxy – the new lines
Three equipment lines (passion, prime and proxy) and a wealth of optional items, some of which were previously the reserve of higher segments, make every smart fortwo or smart forfour a unique gem in its own right. Even in the entry-level version, both models offer a comprehensive scope of safety and comfort features. These include LED daytime driving lights, central locking with radio remote control, visual locking-verification signal and immobiliser, cruise control with limiter (variable speed limitation), exterior temperature indicator with frost warning, instrument cluster with monochrome LCD display and trip computer and electric windows in the front.
Passion, prime and proxy are the names of the three lines which serve to upgrade the smart fortwo and smart forfour and provide for differentiation particularly in the interior. Their features include a leather multifunction steering wheel, an instrument cluster with colour display and heated seats.
To tie in with the market launch of the new smart generation, the edition #1 will also be available for a limited period. This offers exclusive design features such as a tridion safety cell in lava orange combined with bodypanels/body in white on the fortwo and graphite grey on the forfour.
The multimedia systems meet the highest standards, with comprehensive smartphone integration, real-time navigation and intuitive operation with touchscreen. For the first time, smart is offering the JBL sound system, which produces an impressively full sound. It incorporates a 6-channel DSP amplifier (240 W) in the fortwo and an 8-channel DSP amplifier (320 W) on board the forfour. A total of eight (fortwo) or twelve (forfour) high-performance loudspeakers provide for outstanding listening pleasure.
smart cross connect is a revolutionary new app which is available to customers free of charge from smart for the smart fortwo and smart forfour. smart cross connect offers even more features while on the move and outside of the vehicle. smart parking is among the features which now offer a more user-friendly design and incorporate new functions.
FUN.ctional – the exterior design
Extremely short overhangs at front and rear – the new smart generation also possesses these typical proportions. And thanks to the 100 mm wider track, the wheels are positioned further outwards. These characteristic proportions offer outstanding visibility and agility and, together with the rear engine, enable a passenger cell accommodating an unrivalled amount of space in such compact dimensions. The colour contrast between tridion cell and bodypanels is another characteristic feature of the smart brand.
The smart designers refer to the evolutionary development of the silhouette as the “one-and-a-half box” design. A change to the previous one-box proportions became necessary for two reasons: The higher bonnet lends the smart a more grown-up and sportier character.
The smart sports a friendly but self-assured face. A decisive feature of this friendly face is the signature smart grille, which is now slightly larger. The grille’s perforated structure results from a honeycomb pattern. The honeycomb is paler towards the outside – the designers refer to this as fading. The radiator trim is available in a variety of colours to match or contrast with the bodypanels, including black, cool silver and white. The second, black cooling air opening in the bumper also features the honeycomb pattern.
The markedly larger updated smart logo in the middle of the grille also demonstrates self-confidence. It is now three-dimensional and almost spherical in shape, harmonising with the smart’s distinctly more sensuous lines. The logo features a matt finish rather than a high-gloss look, similarly to all the sparingly applied chrome accents.
The rhombic front lamps are truncated slightly at the top, producing an attractive sporty look. The U-shaped daytime driving lights add a characteristic design feature. In combination with the LED & Sensor package, the headlamps incorporate a welcome function: when the car is unlocked, the light in the headlamps pulsates, as if the smart were welcoming its owner.
A loving attention to detail is demonstrated, for example, by the way in which the honeycomb pattern is cited in the headlamp covers. On the indicators, the honeycomb pattern even performs the function of dispersing the light. The bonnet also highlights the new sculptural lines, describing a powerful and sporty downward sweep between the headlamps.
The new smart forfour is clearly recognisable as a member of the new smart family, sharing many design features with the smart fortwo. Naturally enough, it is in the profile that the greatest difference is to be found between the fortwo and the forfour: the smart fortwo has a large door extending into the B-pillar with a frameless window. The typical smart genes are thus recognisable from afar on the road: the striking door contours and the unique tridion cell. A characteristic swage line, such as features in the middle of the doors, underscores the brand image. This is followed by the fuel filler cap on the right and the air inlet for the rear engine under the B-pillar on the left. As previously, the door is lined with a panel in high-quality lightweight plastic. This allows the king of the car park to shrug off any knocks and bumps from other road users.
The side view of the smart forfour reveals the same elements as the fortwo, but has a longer tridion cell as well as the additional door. The front and rear overhangs appear just as short as on the fortwo. The forfour’s roof line slopes downward towards the rear in coupé style.
A new feature on both models is the pronounced shoulderline. This provides both variants with a firm look on the road and establishes a visual separation between vehicle body and greenhouse.
The twin-section tailgate is close to smart drivers’ hearts. The new smart fortwo boasts this special feature once again, enabling the vehicle to be loaded even in the tightest parking spaces.
The rhombic tail lights framed by the tridion cell are reminiscent of the first smart generation and combine with the large track width to emphasize the width at the rear. A unique LED scenario is optionally available in conjunction with the LED & Sensor package: eleven individually illuminated cubes are allocated to each tail light, providing a striking night design. The typical honeycomb pattern features once again in the clear glass over the indicators and reversing lights in the middle of the lamps.
The smart forfour essentially has the same elements as the smart fortwo. It is fitted with an upward-opening single-section tailgate, however, to enable convenient loading of the lower luggage compartment.
New, rich exterior colours and around 40 combination options between bodypanels and tridion cell boost the brand’s upbeat image. New colours now available include moon white (matt), lava orange (metallic) and hazel brown (metallic), which can be applied to contrast with new colours for the tridion cell such as cool silver (metallic) or lava orange (metallic).
Easy-going and charming – the interior design
“Loop” is the designers’ name for the emotional sweep that features as a leitmotif in the interior, embellishing the dashboard and doors, for example. The sculptural dashboard itself consists of two sections – a bold and sensuous outer section which can optionally be covered with fabric, and a large, concave inner section incorporating the functional elements. In front of the dashboard, the instrument cluster and the infotainment centre with radio/navigation appear to hover in front of the dashboard.
The dashboard and the door centre panels feature extensive fabric coverings in the three lines. This high-quality textile surface is very pleasant to the touch and is reminiscent of the mesh inserts in modern sports shoes. The mesh structure is a USP in this vehicle segment.
The colour and material concept underscores the easy-going and charming character of the new smart generation, with the equipment lines standing for a distinctive and individual appearance. The sporty front seats with bold contours are designed as integral seats.
The instrument cluster and its semi-circular segmentation for speed and warning indicators cites the previous smart models, but in a new look. The striking spherical air vents are simple and fun to use. The centrally positioned air conditioning control unit also features an unusual appearance: the desired temperature can be set on a scale in the middle with the aid of a sliding magnifying glass.
The three-spoke multifunction steering wheel can be used to control the radio or navigation unit positioned in the centre of the dashboard. The infotainment centre in modern consumer electronics style appears to hover in front of the dashboard. The interior thus reflects the values of a young, active and networked generation.
The doors take up the “loop” of the dashboard with their ellipsoidal sweep. The large armrest provides for comfort. The honeycomb pattern from the exterior is cited on the integrated loudspeaker and the tweeter in the mirror triangle.
Smallest turning circle of any car – the concept
Short overhangs, minimal length, high steering angle. The new smart models have everything it takes to manoeuvre elegantly into any parking space – and around every corner, too. When it comes to the turning circle, the new smart fortwo sets a new benchmark: at 6.95m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30m (from wall to wall) it makes turning manoeuvres extremely simple. And the new smart forfour turns almost as compactly as the previous fortwo (wall to wall: 8.75m). Its statistics are 8.65m (kerb to kerb) and 8.95m (wall to wall).
The smart fortwo and smart forfour makes exceptional use of the available space. The smart engineers have developed the body space index (BSI) to describe how efficiently space is used. It describes the ratio of interior to exterior length, whereby the interior length is measured from the accelerator pedal in unused position along a horizontal line to the rear end, as a simple means of comparison between different vehicles. Both the new models from smart attain top ratings for this criterion: 75% (smart fortwo) and 77 % (smart forfour).
The key dimensions of the two new smart models:
|Turning circle (kerb-to-kerb) (m)
|Turning circle (wall-to-wall) (m)
|Interior length (accelerator pedal to rear end) (mm)
|Body space index (ratio of length to interior length) (%)
|Luggage compartment capacity (behind front seats) (L)
|Luggage compartment capacity (behind front seats to roof) (L)
|Luggage compartment capacity (behind rear seats) (L)
|Luggage compartment capacity (behind rear seats to roof) (L)
The new smart forfour naturally offers even more loading capacity. The rear seat backrests can be folded down to produce a level load surface measuring 1285 x 996mm with a cargo volume of up to 975 litres – the benchmark in its segment. The loading length with the front passenger seat backrest folded forward is also exceptional, at 2.22 metres.
And on top of all this, reversible cushions are optionally available for the rear seats in the forfour. The “ready space” seats in the rear can be turned around and lowered substantially in next to no time to produce 12 cm more loading height inside, which is very simple to make use of thanks to the rear doors which open to an angle of almost 90°.
Markedly more comfortable – the chassis
The new smart has essentially been configured for gently understeering handling characteristics. The different tyre sizes at front and rear have thus been retained, whereby the narrower front tyres in conjunction with a high outside wheel turn angle contribute to the unprecedentedly small turning circle. ABS, ASR and ESP® are ready to intervene at the critical limits of road-holding. A hill hold function and brake assist are integrated in the brake system.
The engineers have designed a new MacPherson suspension with a triple-path head bearing for the front axle. Each wheel is controlled by a wishbone under the wheel centre, the MacPherson strut and a tie rod. Comfort and guide bearings for the wishbones provide for added comfort, along with the markedly increased overall spring travel. During the compression phase in particular, the new smart runs markedly more smoothly over uneven surfaces than previously.
The new smart models also feature a sophisticated De-Dion rear axle, which has been modified for substantially greater comfort. New elements are the twin-tube shock absorbers and separate barrel-shaped helical springs. Two elastomer shims provide for effective noise decoupling of the helical springs between body and rear axle.
The Sports suspension package is optionally available to those seeking sportier handling from their smart. The springs are firmer here and the vehicle is ten millimetres lower.
As standard, the new smart models come with mechanical rack-and-pinion steering. The Direct-Steer system with variable ratio and electric power assistance provides for considerably enhanced driving enjoyment, even better handling and increased efficiency.
Crosswind Assist as standard – active safety
Advanced assistance systems which were previously the reserve of higher classes of vehicle further enhance safety and comfort. These include Crosswind Assist (standard), forward collision warning (option) and Lane Keeping Assist (option).
Every car driver will be familiar with risky situations when surprised by strong gusts of wind while overtaking trucks or on bridges. Standard-fit Crosswind Assist is able to defuse such dangerous situations by carrying out specific braking intervention when the vehicle threatens to drift off track. As a result, less countersteering effort is required of the driver. Crosswind Assist is active from 80 km/h when driving straight ahead and in gentle bends. The ESP indicator lights up in the instrument cluster in response to noticeable intervention by Crosswind Assist.
A brief lapse in concentration is all it takes for the driver to edge too close to the vehicle ahead – this is one of the main causes of serious traffic accidents. The forward collision warning (option) helps to defuse such dangerous situations. It can prevent rear-end collisions when the driver approaches the end of a traffic jam, for example. The system can also prompt the driver to take action in dangerous traffic situations in the city, thereby helping to avoid accidents. The distance to the vehicle ahead and the closing speed are monitored continuously by mid-range radar.
The driver is warned in two stages: when a vehicle ahead is detected, a warning lamp first of all lights up in the instrument cluster, if the distance is not within the safe range (stage 1). If the closeness to the vehicle ahead becomes critical, giving rise to a danger of collision, a warning tone additionally sounds (stage 2). The driver is thus urged to take action in the form of emergency braking or a specific evasive manoeuvre to avoid a rear-end collision. The combined visual and audible warning is initiated in case of moving or stationary vehicles in the speed range from 4mph to top speed. Stationary vehicles are detected when the driver is travelling at a speed from 4 to 56mph.
Vehicles veering off the road or collisions with oncoming traffic are among the most common and most severe types of accident. Lane Keeping Assist (option) helps to avoid such crashes. A video camera scans road markings and detects differences in contrast between the road surface and boundary lines in real time. A control unit processes the data from the camera and the driver’s activities. The system is able to recognise whether the driver intends to leave the lane by checking whether an indicator has been activated, for example. If a danger is detected, an audible warning tone is output and a visual warning is displayed in the form of a symbol in the instrument cluster.
Comprehensive occupant protection – passive safety
The bodyshell of the new model series and the tridion safety cell have undergone further development to adapt them to the more stringent safety requirements in the crash test and to the new smart forfour. A high proportion of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steel is now used. These are used in the sidewall and in particular in the substructure.
In order to assure the structures of a high level of deformation and energy absorption capacity in frontal collisions, the new smart generation has been provided with the largest possible crumple zones and attention has been devoted to ensuring an effective flow of the accruing forces. In a severe frontal collision, the rear structure also helps to absorb the energy acting on the vehicle, for example. The forces are channelled into the extremely robust passenger cell, which is designed as a safety cage. Particularly extensive work went into adapting the new front axle carrier to crash requirements.
The highly robust tridion passenger cell is able to prevent major deformation even in very severe collisions, thus helping to protect the occupants’ space. The fuel tank is located safely outside the deformation zone in front of the rear axle.
The Mercedes-Benz safety engineers were involved in the cooperation project with Renault throughout all phases of the development process and were able to contribute their amassed know-how. In the area of computer simulation, for example, where it was possible to calculate in detail the behaviour of individual weld spots or the newly introduced bonding methods, such as MIG soldering.
The number of assessed collision cases far exceeded the mandatory scope, both in the simulations and in real crash testing. The new smart fortwo underwent the same development programme as the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, for example. As it has been evolved for the global market, the number of crash tests was four times what is required for vehicles designed primarily for the European market.
In keeping with the Mercedes-Benz “Real Life Safety” philosophy, the focus in car-to-car tests was on compatibility with substantially larger and heavier vehicles. The new smart fortwo was required to demonstrate its capabilities in frontal collisions with the S- and C-Class.
The way in which all components (body, seat belts, airbags and sensor system) interact is crucial to effective protection. The forward displacement space for the occupants is to be sufficient to provide them with an adequate deceleration distance to minimise accident-induced physical stress in the event of a collision.
Driver and front passenger are each provided with a three-point seat belt with belt force limiter and pyrotechnic belt tensioner as standard. The rear seats in the smart forfour each have a three-point seat belt with pyrotechnic belt tensioner and belt force limiter – features which other manufacturers do not necessarily provide as standard, even in higher classes of vehicle. A rear belt status indicator in the overhead control panel comes as standard.
The ISOFIX fastening system with TopTether attachment features as standard on the passenger seat of the fortwo and the rear seats of the forfour, providing a simple means of attaching child seats rigidly to the vehicle. The child seats themselves come from the Mercedes-Benz range.
The headrests for driver and front passenger are integrated in the backrests. They reduce the risk of injuries to the cervical vertebrae in a rear-end collision.
The smart models come with driver airbag, driver kneebag and front passenger airbag as standard. The kneebag has a positive influence on occupant kinematics in a frontal collision, thus offering the driver additional protection in many frontal collision scenarios. The principle of the telescoping steering column has been adopted 1:1 from the Mercedes-Benz range.
The standard-fit sidebags (head-thorax bags) are accommodated in the driver and front passenger seat backrests and provide side cover for the respective occupants’ head and chest. The sidebags incorporate two chambers to enable due adaptation to different sizes of head / upper body. When inflated in side-on collisions they are able to lower the degree of stress to which the chest area is exposed and reduce the risk of the head colliding directly with the side window or other objects likely to cause injuries, such as a pylon, a tree or parts of a colliding vehicle. The occupants’ pelvic areas are additionally protected by deformation elements installed at appropriate points in the door panels.
Production – Hambach plant remains a role model
Highly efficient assembly and logistics operations and suppliers based directly on site at the plant as system partners: since it was opened in October 1997 the smart plant in Hambach, Lorraine, has stood for the success story of an innovative, particularly lean production concept which continues to set new standards in its area of the automobile industry. With investments in the order of 200 million euros for production of the new generation of the two-seater, the plant has brought its original production concept into line with the state of the art while further increasing the flexibility of production operations. The innovative, lean production concept at ‘smartville’ is based on smart assuming overarching control of the plant and responsibility for the end product, while at the same time drawing on the expertise of specialised suppliers and service companies for numerous areas of production.
There is close contact between the smart plant in Hambach and the Renault production plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, where the new smart forfour rolls off the production line as part of the cooperation agreement between smart and Renault. The involvement of the production and quality experts from the Hambach plant ensures that all vehicles of the new smart generation meet the smart quality standards in full, irrespective of where they are produced.
The success story – an idea wins through
1998 saw the launch of an excitingly different car – the smart city coupé, which has since long become known as the smart fortwo. Measuring little more than two and a half metres in length, the uncompromising two-seater fitted crossways into parking spaces and established a new class of its own. Idea and brand successfully established worldwide.
With its uniquely short design, the smart is simply unbeatable for city driving – much to the delight of smart drivers in ever more cities all over the world. Following the smart fortwo’s initial launch in Germany and eight other European countries, it is now available in 46 countries across the globe.
It has always been part of the smart concept to offer customers numerous additional services in the area of individual mobility. Back in an early phase of the brand’s history, for example, the smartmove programme enabled drivers to hire a larger car on favourable terms, to reserve special parking spaces and to avail themselves of a car sharing programme – services which have since undergone further development and which remain closely linked to smart today as “smart add-on” or “car2go”.
smart is also a pioneer of the local emission-free electric drive: 2012 saw the launch of the third-generation smart fortwo electric drive. With the new models, smart customers can enjoy even more fun at the wheel of an attractively priced vehicle that has the familiar compact dimensions, be it in coupé or cabrio style. With its 55 kW electric motor the smart fortwo electric drive accelerates from 0 – 62mph in 11.5 seconds, and with a maximum speed of 78mph driving pleasure is also guaranteed on urban motorways. The 17.6 kWh battery enables the urban two-seater to travel approximately 90 miles in city traffic without producing any local emissions. The new sale&care model makes opting into electric mobility particularly attractive: it offers customers an opportunity to buy, finance or lease the vehicle at an attractive price and to rent the battery for a monthly fee.
2012 also witnessed the introduction of the first smart with just two wheels: the smart ebike features an unconventional design in line with the style of the brand, functions appropriate for city use and high technology standards which are reflected by an extremely efficient high-performance drive package among other merits.
Total sales for the smart fortwo well in excess of 1.5 million show how successfully smart has turned the idea for this unique city car into reality. Annual sales also remained stable around the 100,000 mark in the final years of the model lifecycle. In 2013 the smart electric drive was the market leader in Germany and ranked 3rd in Europe and 5th worldwide in the registration statistics for electric cars. At the beginning of 2014 the smart fortwo won the title of “Microcar of the Year” for the fifth time in succession in China. Today, five years after the market launch, China is the third most successful market for smart, after Germany and Italy.