The concept: Revolutionary 3.0

The revolution enters the next round – the smart fortwo has undergone improvements in virtually all areas and the typical smart rear engine concept is now available with four doors for the first time. A major advantage is the maximum 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.
Is the rear engine concept the best solution for the next smart generation? Does it also offer a suitable basis for further smart models? And who are the best partners to implement the project with? These and many other questions had to be answered before the starting signal was given for the third smart generation.
"It quickly became clear that we had to stay under a total length of 2.70 metres for the smart fortwo to continue to show its strengths to the full in the city. With a length of 2.69 m the new fortwo is also short enough to park perpendicular to the flow of traffic wherever this is allowed," says Axel Nirk, strategic project manager for the new smart generation. "Extensive examinations, also together with our new cooperation partner Renault clearly showed that this is only possible with rear-wheel drive." The smart experts see this consistent design as a main factor for the success in establishing the smart brand on the market for city runabouts.
Premiere for smart forfour with a rear-mounted engine
For the first time the successful smart concept is being expanded to four seats. "Even the first smart forfour built in cooperation with Mitsubishi from 2004 to 2005 won many fans who have stayed loyal to it until today, as demonstrated by the high prices for used cars," comments Annette Winkler, Head of smart. Whereas the first smart forfour was fitted with a front engine and front-wheel drive, the new smart forfour features the longer rear engine platform of the fortwo and thus meets the wish so frequently expressed for a "true" smart with more space. Annette Winkler says: "We are convinced that the new forfour will be a great success thanks to its well-conceived concept, the platform shared with the fortwo and the new cooperation with Renault."
Partnership with Renault
smart has a tradition of working closely with partners in order to realise competitive prices through shared costs and higher volumes. This strategic cooperation concept is particularly notable in smartville, smart's factory complex in the French town of Hambach (see Production section). Mitsubishi was the partner for the previous engines (and the first generation of the forfour). Nirk: "We also talked to other companies before selecting Renault as a development partner. We were able to forge major agreements with Renault and to win a partner with extensive experience in the small car segment. Before starting development activities, in a complex process we defined the development goals and responsibilities on both sides in great detail."
After the basic (rear-engine) concept and decisive key aspects such as the steering wheel and seat position were established by smart, the development partners agreed on complete design freedom for the brand identity. "The product development process gave both partners the freedom to implement their typical features without making any compromises," Nirk says. "For example, we at Daimler have standards of passive safety that go far beyond the legal requirements in some cases. We also have extensive requirements for endurance testing that naturally also apply to smart." Furthermore, smart is present in 46 markets around the world, which means that the vehicles must meet all kinds of different requirements.
Typically smart: extremely good utilisation of space and excellent manoeuvrability
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).
And because the strengths of the short length are really only shown off when optimum use is made of the space available, both models boast excellent space efficiency. 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:
 
smart fortwo
smart forfour
Length (m)
2.69
3.49
Width (m)
1.66
1.66
Height (m)
1.55
1.55
Wheelbase (mm)
1873
2494
Turning circle (kerb-to-kerb) (m)
6.95
8.65
Turning circle (wall-to-wall) (m)
7.30
8.95
Interior length (accelerator pedal to rear end) (mm)
2011.6
2707.3
Body space index (ratio of length to interior length) (%)
75
77
Luggage compartment capacity (behind front seats) (l)
260
730
Luggage compartment capacity (behind front seats to roof) (l)
350
975
Luggage compartment capacity (behind rear seats) (l)
-
185
Luggage compartment capacity (behind rear seats to roof) (l)
-
255

Even the first smart had an astonishing amount of space for passengers who certainly didn't feel cramped as in a normal small car. And the cargo carrying capacity was also impressive for the extremely compact dimensions. As the two new smarts come with a fully folding passenger seat backrest as standard it is also possible to transport longer items.
The new smart forfour naturally offers even more loading capacity. The rear seat backrests can be folded down to produce a level load surface of at least 1285 x 996 mm 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 "readyspace" seats in the rear can be converted in next to no time to produce 12 cm more loading height, which is very simple to make use of thanks to the rear doors which open to an angle of almost 90°. Furthermore, the "readyspace" seats include a removable cargo box between the two rear passengers.
Consistent implementation of customer wishes
Improvements requested by smart customers have also been integrated in many details of the third generation. For example, fortwo drivers love the horizontally divided tailgate because it enables the boot to be loaded even in the smallest parking spaces. Operation has now been made even easier: both the button for the top part and the release mechanism for the lower section have a new design.
The complete redesign of the smart generation also offered an opportunity to make two fundamental improvements: the new suspension is much more comfortable than before. Customers can opt for twinamic 6-speed dual clutch transmission as a comfortable and sporty automatic transmission, and an inexpensive manual transmission is available as an alternative.
Further detail improvements requested by customers include steering wheel height adjustment and operation of the seat adjustment on the outside of the seats.
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