Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hot News: Smart 4-Seater is on the Way

By 2014 the struggling Smart brand will have entirely rebooted its range. Not only is an all-new two-seater coming next year, but after that a four-seater.

The base platform and powertrains are being co-developed with Renault. This was one of the first decisions made in the ever-growing partnership between Daimler and the Nissan-Renault Alliance. Mercedes chief engineer Thomas Weber told Motor Trend at the Paris auto show, “Both cars will use a three-cylinder engine developed with Renault. It will be rear-mounted also in the Forfour. Commonality is key in the compact class.”

The four-seat version has already been previewed by a pair of concepts: the For-us pickup at the 2012 Detroit show, and the Forstars at Paris. They had two seats as concepts — the For-us (pictured at right) was a pickup, the Forstars (pictured above) had a glazed rear canopy. But don’t be fooled — there’s room for a small folding back seat and tiny trunk behind.
 Both concepts were nearly 140 inches long compared with the current Smart two-seater’s 106 inches. Obviously 140 inches is still extremely short for a four-seat, two-door hatchback. The 97-inch wheelbase puts the wheels very close to the corners of the car, with tiny overhangs as is the Smart norm.

The packaging trick that allows this? Even as a four-seater the Smart will be rear-engined. It’s expected to be powered by a new three-cylinder turbo engine with direct injection, based on a 89-horsepower unit just introduced by Renault in its new Clio.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

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