Thursday, July 17, 2014

The new Smart Fortwo & Forfour: adding a new shine to a proven concept

Smart Fortwo & Forfour
"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."

Smart Fortwo
Smart Forfour

Smart FortwoSmart Forfour
Smart Forfour interiorSmart Forfour interior

"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 52 kW/71 hp from a capacity of 999 cc. The engine's ample torque from an engine speed as low as 1000 rpm (maximum: 91 Nm at 2850 rpm) enables particularly economical driving in high gears, even in urban traffic.

Top of the range is the turbo engine rated at 66 kW/90 hp. The 898 cc engine mobilises maximum torque of 135 Nm at 2500 rpm. 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 45 kW/60 hp 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 3.5 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 6.95 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 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).

Smart Press