It's fair to say the Smart brand hasn't been one of Daimler's bigger successes, but bosses will be hoping the third-generation car is closer to "third time lucky" than "three strikes and you're out".

Smart's latest video suggests that new third-gen car is on its way soon, as camouflaged cars undergo final winter testing at high latitudes in Sweden.

This testing allows engineers to evaluate the car's capabilities in cold weather, but it's also a good test of how electronic systems stand up to harsh climates.

It's also a good opportunity to have fun on a frozen lake--and Smart has hinted that the next Fortwo, and its four-seat Forfour stablemate, will drive much better than the existing car.

Some of that is down to the car's wider track and longer wheelbase, beneficial for stability, ride quality and handling.

Those are traits shared with Smart's engineering partner on the latest Fortwo, Renault. The French automaker already unveiled its Forfour equivalent, the Twingo, at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

While the two cars will differ in the details, the two are clearly similar in size and profile.

ALSO READ: 2014 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: What It's Like On The Road

Smart has abandoned the one-box profile of the old car, instead granting each car a proper hood. This will increase its crash-worthiness, though has no effect on engine placement--the engine still sits under the rear luggage area, as it has on previous Smarts.

Engines too have been co-developed with Renault. The Twingo will get two three-cylinder options, a 999cc non-turbo with 70 horsepower, and an 898cc, 90-horse turbocharged unit.

It's likely Smart will use both these units, but isn't clear which will come to the U.S.

Manual and twin-clutch automatic transmissions will be available, and the car has also been designed with electric power in mind--so expect a fourth-generation Fortwo Electric Drive at some stage.

The video's implication that the car is nearly ready suggests the Fortwo and Forfour could appear on auto show stands as early as this fall--potentially the Paris Auto Show in September..


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