Life and Style
TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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The new smart forfour and smart fortwo cabrio landed at Tseun Wan D.Park Sky Dome Atrium

The revolution enters the next round – the smart forfour has undergone improvements in virtually all areas and is markedly more comfortable. Drivepower is supplied by state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines rated at 66kW/90 hp, while power transmission is performed by the twinamic dual clutch transmission.

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, such as the headlamps, the cooling air grille in the front and the iconic tridion safety cell. In addition, it is fitted with rear engines, making it particularly agile in urban traffic.

The new models 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 models attain top ratings for this criterion at 77%.

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, "readyspace" 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 features

The 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) and Lane Keeping Assist (option). smart therefore offers customers safety features that go far beyond what is usual in the segment.

passion, prime and proxy – the new lines

Three equipment lines (passion, prime and proxy) and a wealth of optional items, some of which were previously the reserve of higher segments, make every smart forfour a unique gem in its own right. Even in the entry-level version, it offers a comprehensive scope of safety and comfort features. For the first time, smart is offering the JBL Soundsystem as option, which produces an impressively full sound. It incorporates a 8-channel DSP amplifier (320 watts) in the forfour. A total of eight (forfour) high-performance loudspeakers provide for outstanding listening pleasure.

Particularly practical: the bass speaker accommodated in the luggage compartment of the forfour can simply be removed when more space is needed – a further detail underlining the outstanding everyday practicality of the vehicle concept.

Furthermore, smart cross connect is a revolutionary new app which is made available to customers free of charge by smart for the smart forfour. The app was specially developed for in-vehicle use on the road and for continued use outside the vehicle. It is available for mobile phones with iOS and Android.

FUN.ctional – the exterior design

Extremely short overhangs at front and rear – the new smart generation also possesses these typical proportions. And thanks to the 100 mm wider track, the wheels are positioned further outwards. These characteristic proportions offer outstanding visibility and agility and, together with the rear engine, enable a passenger cell accommodating an unrivalled amount of space in such compact dimensions. The colour contrast between tridion cell and bodypanels is another characteristic feature of the smart brand. The smart designers refer to the evolutionary development of the silhouette as the "one-and-a-half box" design. The higher bonnet lends the smart a more grown-up and sportier character.

The smart displays a friendly but self-assured face. A decisive feature of this friendly face is the signature smart grille, which is now slightly larger. The grille's perforated structure results from a honeycomb pattern. The honeycomb is paler towards the outside – the designers refer to this as fading. The radiator trim is available in a variety of colours to match or contrast with the bodypanels, including black, cool silver and white. The second, black cooling air opening in the bumper also features the honeycomb pattern.

The rhombic front lamps are truncated slightly at the top, producing an attractive sporty look. The U-shaped daytime driving lights add a characteristic design feature. In combination with the LED & Sensor package, the headlamps incorporate a welcome function: when the car is unlocked, the light in the headlamps pulsates, as if the smart were welcoming its owner.

A loving attention to detail is demonstrated, for example, by the way in which the honeycomb pattern is cited in the headlamp covers. On the indicators, the honeycomb pattern even performs the function of dispersing the light. The bonnet also highlights the new sculptural lines, describing a powerful and sporty downward sweep between the headlamps.

Easy-going and charming – the interior design

"Loop" is the designers' name for the emotional sweep that features as a leitmotif in the interior, embellishing the dashboard and doors, for example. The sculptural dashboard itself consists of two sections – a bold and sensuous outer section which can optionally be covered with fabric, and a large, concave inner section incorporating the functional elements. In front of the dashboard, the instrument cluster and the infotainment centre with radio/navigation appear to hover as added elements.

The colour and material concept underscores the easy-going and charming character of the new smart generation, with the equipment lines standing for a distinctive and individual appearance. The sporty front seats with bold contours are designed as integral seats.

The instrument cluster and its semi-circular segmentation for the speed and warning indicators cites the previous smart models, but in a new look. The striking spherical air vents are simple and fun to use. The centrally positioned air conditioning control unit also features an unusual appearance: the desired temperature can be set on a scale in the middle with the aid of a sliding magnifying glass.

The three-spoke steering wheel is standard equipment which can be used to control the radio or navigation unit (optional equipment) positioned in the centre of the dashboard. The infotainment centre in modern consumer electronics style appears to hover in front of the dashboard. The interior thus reflects the values of a young, active and networked generation.

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