Smart Offers First Tease of New Fortwo and Forfour Models

Look for official launch in Paris later this year.

by on Jul.09, 2014

Daimler is providing a little glimpse at its Smart microcars, the Smart Fortwo and Forfour, in this rendering in advance of the Paris Motor Show.

After a seemingly endless delay, Daimler’s microcar division, Smart, is finally getting ready to roll out two all-new models that, it hopes, will pump some life into the struggling brand.

While we won’t get a first look at the sheet metal until the upcoming Paris Motor Show, Smart has offered some teaser images of the new Fortwo and Forfour models – some rough exterior renderings, as well as close-ups of a few interior and exterior details.

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We’ve also gotten a sense of what’s coming, not from Smart, but from Renault, the French automaker that partnered up with Daimler AG and has taken lead in the development of not just the two new Smart microcars, but also the Renault Twingo that made its own debut, last March, at the Geneva Motor Show.

Though the Twingo, Forfour and Fortwo models will have distinctly different exteriors and interiors, they also have a number of things in common, starting with the rear-engine layout. That approach helped engineers move the front axle forward, yielding significantly more space for both passengers and cargo, explained Benoit Bochard, the program’s product planning chief, during a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com.

The new Smart cars are adopting a honeycomb shape for their headlights.

Without an engine up front to constrict the suspension, meanwhile, the new microcars have a far smaller turning circle, even better suited to maneuvering around tight European city streets.

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For its part, Smart is not yet discussing powertrains, though it is initially expected to feature both a 90-horsepower turbocharged I-3, as well as an all-electric model to replace the current Electric Drive, or ED. For its part, the Renault Twingo has a 71 horsepower three-cylinder model displacing 1.0-liter, and a turbocharged version of the little engine – downsized to 0.9-liters – turning out 90 hp, that is likely what will be used by Smart.

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One of the big questions surrounds the gearbox the new Fortwo and Forfour models will use. The current, shock-shifting transmission has often been cited as one of the key turn-offs for both Smart owners and “rejecters.” Mileage is another issue but if the Twingo is any indication, the four-seat Smart may come in close to 55 mpg, at least in European testing. U.S. mileage numbers generally run lower.

(To see what’s putting Ford back on track for a European turnaround, Click Here.)

The basic silhouette of the two new Smart cars suggest the maker didn’t want to stray too far from the familiar shape, though it will adopt the honeycomb grille of recent concepts such as the Smart For-us and Forstars. The teaser video reveals a more upscale cabin that adopts round and oval elements, including the curvaceous new dashboard.

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