We all dream of that nimble, sporty two seater, with a willing engine and delightful exhaust throb, which you can flick through its gears, double declutching if you will, enjoy the handling on winding county roads, and feel the king in the city, on the riviera boulevards, enjoying the wind and sun.
You would think with a sigh that they don't make these cars anymore. Well, just look twice: yes, there is the new Smart fortwo with a sublime three cylinder 66 kW turbo engine, pumping out all this power with merely 898 cc, a true pur sang, using all the state of the art petrol engine know how our modern times are able to offer. We enjoyed every mile or kilometre behind the two spoked wheel of this Smart, just read on...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Daimler and Renault chassis designers and suspension specialists have put every ounce of their talent in redesigning the suspension and chassis of this new Smart. The testing engineers, test drivers and the people of the pre-production centres have done the rest.
Many thousands of miles of testing, and many hours of running on the test bench have transformed the Smart totally. From a somewhat jittery city transport it now has grown into a talented, nice neutral handling car which can be thrown about with confidence round sharp and fast long (motorway) bends, staying beautifully stable, relaxed, and predictable, with the electronic assistance systems giving you a helping hand when you are becoming increasingly over-enthusiastic.
We stress this here again, after having written already several test reports on the new Smart family. We would advice you, don't miss it, take this new Smart for a spin, and you will be convinced.
Delightful, sporting unit
The three cylinder engine develops a healthy 90 HP at 5.500 rpm, and it is a delight to hear (and feel) all these horses working. The engine sound swells to a beautiful staccato, accompanied by a thoroughbred hiss of the turbo. The 898 cc engine develops thanks to the efficient turbo an impressive torque of 135 Nm at merely 2.500 rpm.
This means that this engine is not (only) a small breasted high revving unit, which has to be kept "on song" all the time you want to have a go, but one that pulls and pulls also massively in the mid rev ranges.
When accelerating fully, fellow road users watch this Smart lift is skirts with growing disbelief. Indeed, it brings you from 0 to 100 in 10,4 seconds, with in gear accelerations to match. Under all this power, the Smart surprises you with a slight lifting motion of the front end, and the comfortable sprung Smart even rocks slightly when changing gears with power then going on and off. Just to let you feel even more the potent power of this engine.
A maximum speed of 155 kph is swiftly reached, and the Smart will cruise all day at speeds of say 130 kph, with lots of power in hand. Suffice to say here that the 5 speed gearbox works smoothly, and the gear ratios are just right, well adapted to engine and car.
All this performance does not spoil the economy. Despite its liveliness, the 66 kW smart averages in the official mixed cycle 4,2 litres/100 km, and town traffic costs 4,9 litres 100 km. Our average test consumption also hovered around the 5 litre mark. The 66 kW smart is also quite "green": the manufacturer quotes 97 g/km of CO2.
Of course, the engine is equipped with a 3-way catalytic converter and complies with the Euro 6 norm.
Smart looking cabin
We already praised the practicality of this new Smart. It charms you with a very pleasant cabin, (and here we tested the #edition 1, with a very charming colour scheme), where everything falls nicely in your hand, with excellent ergonomics for all the commands. Infotainment is also quite handy with a centrally placed holder for your smartphone, and the infotainment system is offering also very practical and easy connectivity with your smartphone device.
The split luggage door which lets you still use the luggage compartment in very narrow parking spaces also tells you that this smart is a very savvy urban machine.
These urban talents of the car are further enhanced by the sublime turning circle of only 6,95 metres. It has to be experienced to be believed, and this handiness means that sharp turns around obstacles, parked lorries and the like are a breeze, also thanks to the excellent and powerful electric power steering. So, fancy a breezy tour around Paris, London, Munich? This lively Smart is built for it, and offers you tons of driving pleasure.
In terms of equipment or accessories if you like, order this Smart in the open top version. It lets you enjoy nature, experience the bustling city, listen to the sea breeze when strolling along the Riviera boulevards.
The new Smart has really grown up when it comes to comfort, driveability, handling on the open road, and gone forever is its former somewhat jittery ride. Ŵe already experienced this in the earlier tests. But here comes the icing on the cake, which lets you enjoy even more all this handling and roadholding talents to the full: a truly thoroughbred engine, which makes this Smart a very lively and sporting two seater, full of (urban) joie de vivre.
Despite all this, the Smart remains a very rational purchase, when you consider its build quality, its compactness, its clever design, timeless, typical "Smart" profile and personality, and last but not least the expected longevity and already proven economy. So, we would say, the (smart) pleasure is all yours...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
We tested the edition #1, with a very charming colour scheme..