The new Smart car hasn’t yet landed in showrooms in the U.S. but the German microcar maker is already rolling out a second version, with a third on the way.
The redesigned Smart ForTwo Cabrio gets a new canvas “tritop” that can open up like a sunroof or fold back more like a conventional convertible. Set to formally debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the two-seater will reach showrooms in mid-spring 2016.
“Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for”, said Smart brand boss Annette Winkler. “I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon.”
(Little Smart has big ambitions for the all-new ForTwo line. Click Here for more.)
Like the Smart ForTwo coupe, the new cabrio version has gone through a complete redesign in an effort to update the little car and enhance its appeal. Rather than go it alone, however, Smart’s parent, Daimler AG, reached out to its alliance partner, Renault. The French company took the lead in the development process, the final platform shared with the Renault Twingo.
The Smart coupe and cabrio models have a number of unique elements, including the tridion cell safety system. That’s readily visible in terms of the big rear pillar that provides both side impact protection and, with the convertible, rollover protection, as well.
A user can, however, remove the side roof bars from the new Smart ForTwo Cabriolet. A storage compartment is hidden within the tailgate.
(Mercedes-Benz offers first look at new S-Class Cabriolet. Click Here to check it out.)
Both ForTwo models retain essentially the same length as the original versions, at eight feet nose-to-tail. But they are a bit more than three inches wider, providing a bit more shoulder and hip room. The canvas top of the new model is about 4% larger than with the outgoing model, and the three-layer fabric should be a bit more durable. The rear window is heated glass.
The top can be operated from inside the Smart ForTwo or from the three-button ignition key remotely.
Though the new versions of the ForTwo may look a good bit like the old models, the new version is a virtually complete do-over. It is stiffer than before, thanks to the use of new high-strength hot-formed steel, among other things.
It also updates its suite of electronics, with more safety features and an infotainment system that either can be ordered with a navigation unit or linked to a smartphone and an app with a suite of features that include navigation. There’s even a new app that will let Smart owners engage in scavenger hunts, something Smart previewed for journalists this week during a drive of the ForTwo coupe.
On the powertrain side, the ForTwo Cabrio will share the same powertrain options as the coupe, including both a 70-horsepower 1-liter three-cylinder gas engine and a 0.9-liter turbocharged package making 89 horsepower. Only the turbo option will be available in the U.S. but Smart is offering both a dual-clutch gearbox and a 5-speed manual.
There will be no more diesel versions of the second-generation Smart ForTwo, either in coupe or cabrio trim. But Winkler this week confirmed that the maker will reveal a new Electric Drive model next year. The original ForTwo ED just went out of production.
As for the new Smart ForTwo Cabrio, the maker says it will roll into showrooms next February.
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