Test Drive – SMART Forfour 2016

The New Smart Forfour: Adding a new shine to a proven concept

The smart brand appeals equally to the heart and mind. An expressive design idiom and colouring embody pure joie de vivre. The compact proportions and clever details testify unique functionality. The new smart forfour are clearly recognisable as members of the same family. Many design features such as the headlamps, the cooling air grille in the front and the iconic tridion safety cell are identical, for example. In addition, both vehicles are fitted with rear engines, making them particularly agile in urban traffic.

Short overhangs, a minimal length and a high steering angle are further optimal prerequisites for ensuring that the new smart models get around every corner and into every parking space. When it comes to the turning circle, the new smart forfour turns almost as compactly as the previous fortwo (wall to wall: 8.75 m). Its statistics are 8.65 m (kerb to kerb) and 8.95 m (wall to wall). This outstanding manoeuvrability is attributable in part to the Direct-Steer system with variable ratio and electric power assistance which features as standard on all smart models.

The new model also come up trumps once again with regard to the maximum space packed into minimal dimensions, as documented by the excellent body space index. This describes the ratio of interior to exterior length, whereby the interior length is measured from the accelerator pedal in unused position along a horizontal line to the rear end, as a simple means of comparison between different vehicles

The new smart forfour naturally offers the greater loading capacity. The rear seat backrests can be folded down to produce a level load surface measuring 1285 x 996 mm with a cargo volume of up to 975 litres – the benchmark in its segment. The loading length with the front passenger seat backrest folded forward is also exceptional, at 2.22 metres.And on top of all this, reversible cushions are optionally available for the rear seats in the forfour. The “readyspace” seats in the rear can be turned around and lowered substantially in next to no time to produce 12 cm more loading height inside, which is very simple to make use of thanks to the rear doors which open to an angle of almost 90°.Real-life safety – safety featuresThe essential safety concept embodied so successfully by the preceding models has been retained. Like a nut, the interior is protected from harm by a rigid shell: the tridion safety cell. A high proportion of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steel is now used on the new smarts. In keeping with the Mercedes-Benz “real-life safety” philosophy, the focus in car-to-car crash tests was on compatibility with substantially larger and heavier vehicles.

The new smart vehicles performed well in frontal collisions with the S- and C-Class.Advanced assistance systems which were previously the reserve of higher classes of vehicle further enhance safety and comfort. These include crosswind assist (standard), forward collision warning (option) and Lane Keeping Assist (option). smart therefore offers customers safety features that go far beyond what is usual in the segment.A new front axle design adopting elements of the previous Mercedes-Benz C-Class, an optimised De Dion rear axle, substantially increased spring travel all round, tyres with higher side walls and an unprecedentedly small turning circle are the highlights of the new chassis. The chassis and suspension of the new smart generation have evolved on the basis of the experience acquired with previous smart models and have been designed for markedly enhanced ride comfort.

New three-cylinder engines, dual clutch transmission – the drive systemTwo state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines will be available for the new smart models at market launch: the naturally aspirated engine generates  52 kW/71 hp from a capacity of 999 cc. Thanks to maximum torque of 91 Nm at 2850 rpm it enables economical driving, particularly in urban traffic. Top of the range is the turbo engine rated at 66 kW/90 hp. The 898 cc engine mobilises maximum torque of 135 Nm at 2500 rpm. The totally new turbocharger features an electronically controlled wastegate which enables increased engine dynamics in conjunction with a sustainable reduction in fuel consumption.Apart from the turbocharger, a whole range of other technical measures also contributes to the engine’s excellent fuel efficiency and performance. These include variable adjustment of the inlet valve timing. Another defining trait of the all-aluminium three-cylinder engine is the square bore/stroke ratio.A few months after market launch, a basic petrol engine rated at 45 kW/60 hp will extend the range.A sporty five-speed manual transmission and the particularly comfortable six-speed twinamic dual clutch transmission are available for the 52 kW and 66 kW engines, whilst the 45 kW variant always comes with manual transmission.

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