Thus far, only the two-seat Smart ForTwo has been confirmed for the U.S. It will launch as a 2016 model.
While the Smarts will offer buyers in most markets a choice between two three-cylinder engines, the U.S. will receive only the more powerful turbocharged option, good for 90 horsepower and 100 lb.-ft of torque.
That engine will be mated to an all-new dual-clutch transmission--dubbed Twinamic--which Smart head Dr. Annette Winkler says was produced directly as a result of customer feedback.
Additionally, just confirmed for the U.S. is a five-speed manual transmission, for buyers looking for more direct interaction with their powertrain.While there will be a new-generation Smart Electric Drive as well, today's launch event focused on the gasoline models.
The new Smart vehicles keep the current length of slightly less than 9 feet long (2.69 meters), but they are roughly 4 inches (10 cm) wider. The small proportions help the ForTwo boast the best turning radius, at 22.8 feet curb to curb, while the ForFour needs 28.4 feet.
The two Smarts share many of the same design cues, including the headlights, grille, and the same Tridion safety-cell structure. Smart says it uses a "high proportion" of ultra-high strength hot-formed steel and maximum-strength multiphase steel in the structure of the new models.
The Smart ForTwo and ForFour will offer a number of new safety systems that are more often found in larger segments. A blind-spot monitoring system will be standard, while forward collision warning and lane-keeping assist will be optional.
Importantly, the new Smart cars have a revised suspension. The front axle adopts elements from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, while an optimized De Dion axle sits between the rear wheels.
Dr. Winkler says engineers had as a priority making the new car dramatically more comfortable to ride in that the current model, which is now 15 years old.
2016 Smart ForTwoEnlarge Photo
Europe will receive the new models first, and the U.S. is expected to receive the 2016 Smart ForTwo in late summer or early fall next year.
Official pricing and fuel-economy figures will be released closer to launch time.