New Smart fortwo: design story

Production Cars 14 Nov 2006
New Smart fortwo: design story

The official design studies and information released by Smart for the new fortwo model, an evolution of the previous model that was sold in 750,000 units and has become an urban “icon” in many European cities.


From the official Press Release:

Exterior Design

Smart Fortwo - design sketch

Should an icon like the smart fortwo undergo further development at all? The answer is "yes" – indeed, this is a must.

For the new smart fortwo it was important to strike a balance between retaining the strengths of the previous model on the one hand and bringing in new ideas on the other hand.

The past ten years have seen great changes to the terms of reference. The more than 750,000 smart fortwo customers influence the requirements for the successor model. However, so do new legal requirements, especially those for the American market.

Smart Fortwo - design sketch Smart Fortwo - design sketch
New Smart Fortwo New Smart Fortwo

Smart Fortwo - design sketch

The brand, at its youthful age of eight, also stakes out clear terms of reference for the design. It was important to embody innovation, functionality and joie de vivre – the core values of the brand – in the second smart fortwo generation just as these were anchored in the first generation.

Front view

The new smart fortwo has different eyes – projection headlamps.

These are not only unique in this vehicle class, they also give the smart a face that is more technical and grown-up. In addition, the indicators are integrated in the headlights.

Smart Fortwo - design sketch

The new smart fortwo has a more beefy appearance.

The wheelbase has increased by 55 millimetres and the track width by eleven millimetres; the new smart fortwo appears wider and more athletic.

This impression is underlined by the wider standard tyres (front: 155, rear 175), the additional air intake and the contrasting black bottom section of the bumper.

Black moulding also runs under the whole width of the windscreen. This covers the wiper axes and ends in the left and right-hand mirror triangles. The side indicators have a low position on each wing side and also round off the swage line in the doors.

Side view

Smart Fortwo - design sketch

The new smart fortwo is longer, but it still has extremely compact dimensions. It is exactly 195 millimetres longer than the first generation. The front overhang is 72 millimetres longer, the wheelbase has increased by 55 millimetres and the rear overhang is 68 millimetres longer.

The designers have succeeded in retaining the smart fortwo’s typical silhouette whilst giving the car a more masculine character. Clarity and modernity continue to play a decisive role in the shape of the vehicle.

In addition to the somewhat slimmer tridion safety cell in the sill and door area, the horizontal door handle is a striking new feature.

Smart Fortwo - design sketch

It has been rotated by 90 degrees compared with its predecessor. It cleverly takes up the shoulder line just below the window edge. This is now more pronounced and runs into the front wing and the headlight.

The rear wing now also has a more pronounced contour. The rear window slopes a little more than before. This is firstly to keep the roof short and also to give the car a more sporty and elegant appearance.

In order to comply with laws relating to pedestrian protection the front is now a little higher and steeper. The axes for the clap-hands-type aero-wipers are concealed.

Rear view

Smart Fortwo - design sketch

The new smart fortwo is wider – by 43 millimetres to be precise. However, it appears considerably wider than this because the rear apron now runs straight through without an indent. The projecting handle of the tailgate also contributes to the wide effect.

Four instead of six rear lights now adorn the rear view of the smart fortwo. The rear light, brake light and indicator are located at the top. The bottom lights are housed in a circular reflector. Here, the rear fog light is located on the left-hand side and the reversing light on the right.

The rear window reaches across almost the whole width of the vehicle and is framed by two black glass-like panels. These replace the small quarter windows of the predecessor.

Interior Design

Smart Fortwo - interior sketch

The new automated manual five-speed transmission, the longer wheelbase and the wider track provide for additional driving comfort.

The passenger seat is positioned 15 centimetres further back than the driver’s seat to give the passengers optimum shoulder room. The passengers now have an extra three centimetres of elbow and shoulder room compared with the predecessor model.

The safety seats with integral seat belts have been given a different look. The sides are well contoured and offer lateral support. The upholstery has a silk-matt sheen and an even higher quality feel. Leather trim is available as an option.

The new smart fortwo no longer has a curved S-shaped instrument panel. The main reason for the departure from this is to increase occupant safety. The asymmetrical shape of the previous instrument panel could have a negative effect on a passenger not wearing a seat belt in the event of a crash.

New Smart fortwo - interior

The new instrument panel runs straight and is framed by two bows on the left and right-hand sides that represent a visual continuation of the structure of the tridion safety cell and support the upper and lower wings of the instrument panel.

The lower wing also serves as a knee pad that offers knee protection in the event of a crash.

This also has great advantages in terms of comfort as the changed shape of the instrument panel offers improved ergonomics and greater clarity.

The feeling of spaciousness is also increased: the suspended arrangement of the instrument panel conveys lightness and makes the interior of the new smart fortwo just as unique as that of the previous model.

Smart Fortwo - interior sketch

The added elements such as the external-mounted air vents (that are now cylindrical rather than spherical) and the rev counter and clock on the dashboard (standard for pulse) have been retained.

The driver can see the centrally positioned speedometer through the two-spoke or sporty three-spoke steering wheel. The large display shows the fuel level (left), the gear engaged, the coolant temperature (right) and the odometer. LEDs are now used for the indicator lights.

The designers used the central space on the lower wing of the instrument panel for further ergonomically positioned control buttons, for example for the seat heating, front fog lamps and central locking.

Like the predecessor model, the new smart does not have a continuous centre console reaching from the floor to the instrument panel. This adds to the airy atmosphere as the driver and passenger are not visually separated.

The ergonomically shaped gear knob, the two steering column control stalks and the interior mirror have been adopted from the predecessor model.

Smart Fortwo - interior sketch

The luggage compartment capacity has increased from 150 to 220 litres.

The level loading space is particularly user-friendly with no edges to get in the way of the level surface. The folding rear door is a further advantage and this can be used as a surface to put things on.

The passenger can use a spacious storage recess in the instrument panel. Alternatively, special detachable bags are available for the storage recesses.

In the pulse and passion equipment lines the new smart fortwo comes with a very light transparent polycarbonate roof, produced by Webasto and bonded to the tridion safety cell.

The extremely strong and breakage-resistant polycarbonate has a scratch-resistant exterior and interior coating which also gives the roof a slight tint.

60 percent of the sun’s energy is reflected and 100 percent of UV rays are kept out.

Smart fortwo Cabrio

New Smart Fortwo Cabrio

The open version of the fortwo has enjoyed great popularity in many European cities, especially in Rome.

In the new model, the soft top can be opened and closed at any speed – a feature not offered by any other cabriolet manufacturer.

The heated glass rear window is a further new feature. It has a higher position than the previous PVC window and this greatly increases the loading volume when the soft top is folded down.

The soft top itself is made from a strong black polyacrylic fabric on the outside with a polyester/cotton mix on the inside and a layer of rubber in between.

Smart Fortwo Cabrio - Tridion safety cell
Smart fortwo Cabrio – Tridion safety cell

The roof spoiler made of black polyamide boasts an aerodynamic shape and also accommodates the third brake light.

The soft top has been developed and produced by the roof specialist Edscha.

The body structure of the smart fortwo cabrio shares 70 percent of its panels with the coupé.

The A-pillar has been strengthened in the windscreen area with an internal high-strength steel tube. The solid roll-over bar between the B-pillars is welded and bolted to the tridion safety cell. All these measures add just 15 kilograms to the weight of the car.

(Source: Smart)

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