We talked on the latest Brussels Salon with Céline Monbrun, Corporate Communication Officer & Press Relations Smart at Mercedes-Benz Belgium Luxembourg, (see photo above) when we took a closer look at the Smart Fourjoy study/prototype. She explained to us that 2014 will definitely an important year for Smart…enough to draw your attention on this in our columns!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
A realistic study…
The Smart Fourjoy study is as light as it gets – no roof, no doors, no rear window. This is mostly done to give an excellent view of the futuristic interior with its striking rear bench, and indeed, the organic, sculptural shape makes it reminiscent of modern lounge furniture. Do not expect the actual four seater Smart to be THIS open to the elements...
With its compact dimensions (length/width/height: 3494/1978/1494 millimetres) and a turning circle of 9.1 metres the smart fourjoy boasts the agility typical of the brand. The four seater smart, to be launched at the end of this year, will be similar in size.
Inheriting the original genes…
The four-seater has inherited many of the genes of the original smart. “The smart fourjoy is carrying the smart design philosophy into a new era. According to Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG, “the typical smart silhouette, the clear lines and styling and also the further development of the smart face make this study a modern design icon.”
The extremely short overhangs, the wheels positioned on the four most outer points, the tail lights integrated in the sturdy tridion cell and the spherical instrument cluster, these are all design elements that are a reference to the first smart model series.
According to Annette Winkler, Head of Smart, “The exterior proportions already reveal a lot about the appearance of our four-seater production smart that will be launched at the end of 2014”
The extremely pronounced tridion cell is a new feature. On the study it is made of polished full-aluminium and its brilliant bright lustre finish emphasises the premium character of the brand.
The raised smart lettering milled from aluminium on the side skirts (see photo above) is a further sign of the top quality. The pearlescent white on the bumpers, front bonnet and tailgate provides a contrast to the aluminium of the tridion cell. The door mirrors “float” on an aluminium stele.
A look back to the future: as with the first-generation smart fortwo the rear lights are integrated in the tridion cell. Like turbines, cubes have been incorporated into the plexiglass there. The headlamps do not have a glass cover and this reinforces the three-dimensional impression of the U-shaped daytime running lights. LEDs are exclusively fitted in the front and tail lights.
A futuristic touch in the interior…
Without doors, a rear window or roof panel the smart fourjoy really brings the city inside. Elements that connect the exterior and the interior are the handles for driver and passenger on the side sills and the openings in the roof structure.
The most striking interior features are the two futuristic-looking front seats and the rear seat bench with a similar design. With their organic, sculptural shape they are reminiscent of modern lounge furniture.
The seat shell has a harmonious design. The rear of the seats is made of dark chrome. A piping-like line winds around the sides of the seats with the same petroleum colour as the plexiglass accents on the exterior. Perforated and smooth surfaces alternate on the vehicle floor. As the floor is dark the seats seem to float.
The seats and the instrument panel are supported by a continuous central structure. It features a convex surface with touch-sensitive operating functions.
The instrument panel gives the impression of depth, and with a honeycomb structure and fading it takes up two themes of the exterior.
The solid instrument panel support is made of transparent, illuminated plexiglass into which apertures have been milled.
The striking multidimensional honeycomb structure was created by moulding on white plastic with a pearlescent effect in these areas.
The design of the spherical instrument cluster and the single-spoke steering wheel are reminiscent of the original smart.
Two smartphones are mounted on the dashboard and on the centre tunnel at the rear for cutting-edge connectivity and tailor-made entertainment for all four passengers.
Driving fun with zero (local) emissions
The electric drive housed at the rear is based on the current smart fortwo electric drive. Thanks to the 55 kW magneto-electric motor the smart fourjoy is agile and lively to drive.
The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 17.6 kWh. When completely empty it takes a maximum of seven hours to fully charge the battery at a household socket or charging station on the electricity systems of most countries, i.e. overnight.
The charging time at a wallbox or public charging station can be shortened to less than one hour with the 22 kW on-board charger and a rapid charging cable.
Look for further four-seater Smart news soon on these pages…and in expectation of all this news, we will test drive in warmer spring days the electric version of the Smart, completely equipped with e-Smartbikes! (see photo above...)
Hans Knol ten Bensel