Smart Fourjoy concept car revealed
* City car concept previews next Smart car * Same safety cell technology as current car * Concept powered by 75bhp electric motor...
This is the Smart Fourjoy concept car, which gives the strongest clues yet as to the exterior design of the production four-seater Smart, due to be launched in late 2014.
The Fourjoy has no doors, no roof and no rear window. Instead, the familiar high-strength Tridion metal cell acts as a protective 'cage' in a collision. Like on the current Smart Fortwo, it will be a key part of the exterior design of the production car.
All models in the new Smart range - coupe, roadster and four-seater - will share the chassis platform, which incorporates this crucial safety technology.
The concept car is just under 3.5 metres long and needs only 9.1 metres of space to turn around in. Power comes from a 75bhp electric motor, which can be recharged in less than an hour using a rapid charge wallbox or public charging point. Recharging the Fourjoy from empty using a household socket takes up to seven hours.
Inside the uncluttered cabin, white bucket seats with dark gloss backs seem to float above the contrasting floor. The seatbelts are integrated within the side bolsters.
The dashboard is made from clear, backlit plexiglass that houses a small colour touch-screen in the centre.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz, has previously confirmed that all the new Smart variants will remain rear-engined. They will all be available with either conventional engines or electric powertrains. A small, two-cylinder engine, similar to Fiat's Twinair unit, is likely to be an option.
As a consequence of the engine being in the rear of the car, the front grille doesn't need to be functional. Therefore, the smooth, honeycomb 'grille' of the Fourjoy is likely to be carried over to the production version, to give the new Smart range a unique identity in the segment.
The production version of the new Smart will appear early next year, before going on sale nearer the autumn.