Sunday, October 7, 2012

Paris Show 2012 Highlights: Smart ForStars Concept

Smart has unveiled the latest in a line of electric-powered concept cars at the Paris motor show.

The two-seat Smart Forstars has been created to preview the exterior styling treatment set to grace the next generation of Smart models, including the third-generation Fortwo and second-generation Forfour.

Both models are being developed and will be produced in co-operation with Renault, which will get its own uniquely bodied versions of the new city car duo.

Forstars shares the same basic rear-engine/rear-wheel drive mechanical package as the For-us pick-up concept displayed at the Detroit motor show in January. The bold three-door hatchback also hints at what Smart describes as a new SUC (sports utility coupé) model that is under consideration at parent company Mercedes-Benz for addition to the Smart line-up as an affordable rival to the likes of the upcoming Volkswagen CrossUp.

“The intention is there, but nothing is decided at this stage,” said a high-ranking Smart source when questioned by Autocar on the likelihood a model along the lines of the Forstars making production. “We can’t ignore the fact that SUV sales continue to grow and will likely continue to do so in the near future.”

Power for the Forstars comes from the same plug-in electric system used on the recently introduced Smart For-two Brabus electric drive. It uses a brushless electric motor mounted at the rear producing 80bhp and 96lb ft of torque together with a 17.6kW/h lithium ion battery that can be charged via plug-in mains electricity and on the run via energy recuperated during periods of trailing throttle and braking. Drive is channeled to the rear wheels with top speed put at a theoretical 81mph.

Smart first announced plans for a SUV way back in 2002 with the Formore. However, plans for the Mercedes-Benz C-class based five-seater were abandoned during a re-organisation of Smart’s operations.

Thanks to: Autocar

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