As promised, there’s now a plethora of information on the new 2015 Smart Fortwo and Forfour, which had their global debut yesterday in Berlin.
The cars retain their rear-engine/rear-drive layout, surrounded by an updated tridion safety cell, which uses a mix of ultra-high-strength and ‘multiphase’ steel to deliver maximum crash performance.
The Fortwo also keeps its general exterior dimensions — 106-inch overall length and 74-inch wheelbase — but width is up by a miniscule amount. The Forfour adds about 30 inches in length and 24 inches to the wheelbase, which is almost entirely assigned to the second row of seats. Cargo space isn’t bad, with just over nine cubic feet in the Fortwo. The Forfour only rates 6.5 cubic feet behind the second row, but expands to nearly 26 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.
The rest of the interior looks more enjoyable with nicer materials, and plenty of storage cubbies, but there’s only so much you can glean from photos.
For now, a revised 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 71 horsepower is standard in both, while an optional turbocharged 0.9-liter — yes, that’s 900cc — triple will boost output to 90 horses. Finally, for the first time ever, Smart will offer a five-speed manual as standard, while an optional six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission is optional. That’s excellent news since the old-school single-clutch auto and its uneven, head-jerking shifts is one of the largest complaints about the current Fortwo.
Safety obviously plays a big role in modern vehicle design, and besides the mandatory airbags, ABS and stability control, there’s now a new standard Crosswind Assist that reduces the amount of steering input required by the driver when hit with big wind gusts. And, in Europe at least, it will offer optional forward collision warning and lane-keep assist.
We’d hope things like fuel efficiency (currently 36 mpg combined) will improve relative to its rivals, and that pricing doesn’t increase much over the $12,500 MSRP for the 2014 model. And while the Fortwo is definitely coming, the Forfour’s future in the U.S. is much less certain.