2015 Smart ‘Fortwo’ and ‘Forfour’
This week saw the European release of the new Smart car range, yes the ‘Fortwo’ and ‘Forfour’ will gain a much needed refresh. We headed over to Berlin for the launch to see what baby Mercedes brand had to offer with the new models.
As the title suggests, Smart have launched two new models a 2015 ‘Fortwo’, a three door, two seater very similar to the smart car that we all know and err…love, and the 2015 ‘Forfour’ a 5 door, 4 seater. But what can we expect? Well to start off, a fact. Where in London we have the Boris bike, in Berlin they have ‘Car 2 Go’, a service that allows you take a ‘Fortwo’ (current model, electric model available also) Smart car, between destinations in the capital picking up and dropping off at hundreds of locations across the city. But before you shout ‘gimmick’ or ‘PR stunt’ listen to this. It’s not just a few cars, there are over 1,200 cars available in Berlin alone and the service is used by around 800,000 people every year in the European and North American cities where the scheme is available. After hearing that, does the credibility or use of a Smart car as a city car ever need to be doubted again? I’m not so sure it does.
So with that in mind, Smart seem to have tried to combine its city car credibility with an increased desire for improved aesthetics and space with the new models. So let’s take a look at them.
The look: ‘Fortwo’
What we have here are some subtle yet noticeable changes to the bodywork without drifting too far away from the current ‘Fortwo’ aesthetic. A more perforated snout and new LED headlights are the two main differences. There are however a whole range of colour profiles to choose from with the new model, a feature that has been heavily credited as the saving grace of an ‘ugly’ 2015 ‘Fortwo’ by the automotive world.
It is worth mentioning that the new smart models have increased in size, a whole 100mm wider and regardless of the size increase, Smart have professed to have an improved turning circle, one that rivals that of a small hedgehog, it’s pretty impressive. So with the size increase you keep the city car credibility and get a little more comfort room in the cabin, and some extra boot space for your golf club? I take that back, that’s not fair. One of the most visually remarkable sights of the new ‘Fortwo’ is how much you can actually fit into the boot space.
The look: ‘Forfour’
Effectively being just a stretched out ‘Fortwo’, the ‘Forfour’ does have the chance to show off the new range of colour tones over its 5 doors, and that is something that it does well. Similarly to its little brother, the ‘Forfour’ has suffered somewhat harsh criticism about it’s appearance, but what’s important to remember is that these cars are designed for urban practicality meaning aesthetics and style will always have to be on the backbench to size. And although beautiful they might not be, quirky they certainly are.
The ‘Forfour’ shares the increased boot and cabin size as the ‘Fortwo’ however due to the backseats, it does seem like a little bit of this space is lost.
What’s on the underneath
Although the exact figures haven’t been released, a suspected 69bhp-90bhp of power is the word on the street. The Mercedes tie is only showing it’s worth with a 110bhp version of the ‘Fortwo’ being produced later in 2015 by the Merc in-house tuning division, Brahus. As for economy, all engine variants are expected to surpass 70mpg with that only being increased with the production of an electric version in 2016. It’s just a pity it wasn’t an option at launch to rival the likes of the i3 and ever increasing electric rise.
The previous vastly unpopular automatic transmission has also been given the heave-ho, replaced with a new five-speed dual clutch system.
As for the interior, the ‘Fortwo’ and ‘Forfour’ offer some pretty funky styling, with an array of colours and materials that give it a far more premium feel, just adding to the already seemingly comfortable cabin. In addition to this (cue some more Mercedes input), the new models come with a pimped out touchscreen infotainment system and navigation. This includes an eight speaker JBL sound system of which you can use to blast out the Noddy theme tune when cruising along in the fortwo…Ok that was the last dig I promise, we actually quite like the new models.
It was obvious at the launch that the message behind these cars is one of pure urban agility and mobility for the future. The lectures on urban agriculture made that very clear.
Whilst they are still only baby steps, we think what smart are trying to do to evolve city driving is brilliant, sure the cars may leave the more style dependent drivers a touch uninspired, but the sheer practicality, along with the size and capabilities, mean that the new models go unparalleled in what is an ever-growing market.
Mixed messages on this one from the multiple grapevines with UK prices, but the ‘Fortwo’ looks to be around the 11,000 Euro starting price mark and the ‘Forfour’ about 600 euros more than that. With the previous model being so disastrously unprofitable, the worry was there for the new models to be on the pricey side. However, the production partnership with Renault on this project should mean that due to part sharing with the Twingo, the old economies of scale should play a part.
But what do you think? Leave a comment below.