- New turbo engines and gearboxes
- Tiny overhangs, tiny turning circles
- High-tech’s been squeezed in, too
Meet the new Smart ForTwo and ForFour – the revolution, the automaker says, continues with the next round which has “improvements in virtually all areas” and “are markedly more comfortable”.
Also, the hallmark Smart rear-engine concept is now also available for the first time in the four-seater Smart ForFour.
Drive power is supplied by state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines rated at 52kW and carried to the wheels through a five-speed manual transmission and six-speed auto, depending on model.
The Smart brand claims t appeal equally to the heart and mind with an expressive design idiom and colouring that are pure joie de vivre. Certainly, given the accompanying images, there is no mistaking the family features common to each model: headlights and grille, for instance, along with each now being rear-engined.
Short overhangs allow the new Smarts to get around every corner and into every parking slot with a turning circle (ForTwo) of 6.95m (kerb to kerb) or 7.3m (wall to wall) and the ForFour 8.65m and 8.95m using variable ratio and electric power assistance.
The cars, of course, are true minicars with the ForTwo 2.69m long, 1.66m wide and 1.55m tall. The ForFour differs only in length at 3.49m and with substandially more more luggage space 260 against 350 litres. Given that the ForFour’s rear seats fold to make a level surface measuring 1.28m by a metre, near as darn it, maximum luggage space will be 975 litres.
Fold the front passenger seat and you can get a two-metre stepladder in there; and, talking of passengers, Mercedes has continued with the “tridion” safety cell built into the body. Forward collision warning and lane-keeping alerts are now standard.
The ForTwo’s’ all-aluminium engine continues as a turbocharged, one-litre, three-cylinder, but Mercedes says there’s now a dual-clutch transmission. The engine makes 52kW/91Nm, the latter from 2850rpm “in the interests of fuel economy.
The ForFour is also turbocharged but makes 66kW and has a six-speed auto transmission.
Three equipment lines, Passion, Prime and Proxy (wonder if the Germans realised how that last one will go down in car-comparison discussions in
English-languarge pubs?), and many optional items, some for the first time as hand-me-downs from more expensive Mercedes.
Among the cars’ features (according to model) are LED daytime lights, central locking with remote control, visual locking verification and immobiliser, cruise control with limiter, exterior temperature indicator with frost warning (important in European markets and the Drakensberg), crosswind stabilisation, seatbelt braking tensioners and power front windows.
The three P’s can variously have a leather multifunction steering wheel, an instrument cluster with a 90mm TFT colour display, and heatable seats.
“The cars’ multimedia systems,” Mercedes says, “meet the highest standards with comprehensive phone integration and satnav. For the first time the, Smart can be fitted with a JBL Soundsystem with a six-channel DSP amplifier (240W) and six speakers in the ForTwo and an eight-channel (320W) amp with 12 speakers in the ForFour.
FITS-ALL CRADLE FOR ON THE MOVE CHATS
The Smarts’ Cross Connect system, free with either car, is described as “a revolutionary app developed for in-vehicle use on the road and for continued use outside the vehicle on iOS and Android phones”.
A cradle that will hold many types of cellphone will become available.
The instrument cluster and its semi-circular segmentation for the speed and warning indicators is the same as the previous Smarts “but in a new look” which includes some unusual features – not to spoil it, pop into your Merc/Smart dealer and ask to see them…
The three-spoked steering-wheel can be delivered as multifunctional to control the radio or satnav.
…AND THE PRICES
Smart ForTwo 52kW manual
Base – R174 900
Passion – R194 400
Prime – R203 400
Proxy – R207 400
Smart ForFour 52kW manual transmission:
Base – R179 900
Passion – R199 400
Prime – R210 900
Proxy – R212 400
Smart ForFour 66kW auto
Base – R210 400
Passion – R229 900
Prime – R241 400
Proxy – R242 900
All Smart models will be delivered with a three-year or 60 000km service plan.