Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the Smart Fourjoy ahead of tomorrow’s Frankfurt motor show, with this concept set to most closely resemble the production version, which is now confirmed for a 2014 reveal.
For the first time a four-seat Smart has been developed first, with the two-seat version being a spin-off set to arrive around a year later than the four-seater’s expected Paris motor show reveal in September next year.
Measuring 3.49 metres long, 1.98m wide and 1.49m high, the Smart Fourjoy concept also boasts a 9.1 metre turning circle and is electric-drive-only, with a 55kW motor powering the rear wheels.
Head of Smart, Annette Winkler, claims the Fourjoy incorporates “numerous details of previous show cars that received very positive feedback,” namely the 2011 Smart Forvision and Forspeed, and 2012 Smart Forstars concepts.
“The exterior proportions already reveal a lot about the appearance of our four-seater production Smart which will be launched at the end of 2014,” Winkler adds, for the first time confirming the timing for a replacement for the seven-year-old current-generation Smart.
Although the lack of doors, a rear window and roof panel with the Smart Fourjoy renders it strictly concept-only, the basic four-seat proportions and some of the interior styling are also said to indicate what the production version will look like.
The front seats and rear bench, with an “organic, sculptural shape” are claimed to be modelled off modern lounge furniture, while the dashboard design rips Smart into the twenty-first century with a sweeping concave design and two integrated iPhone docking stages.
Although the 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack that feeds the electric motor takes just one hour to charge via a rapid charging cable, Smart has also included two “longboards” fastened to the roof that are electrically-driven to cover short city distances, with helmets stowed beneath the rear seats of the Fourjoy.
Mercedes-Benz executives are all too aware that the popularity of the current-generation Smart Fortwo is inhibited by pricing, and aims to address this with the new generation thanks to a platform-sharing agreement with Renault.
Although Renault will bring a new Twingo sub-light hatchback to market – as previewed by the Renault Twin-Z concept – utilising the same rear-drive, rear-engined architecture as the Smart, Mercedes-Benz will get the jump on its partner by bringing its car to market first – and first in four-seat form, then two-seat in 2015.
Although the Fourjoy uses battery power only, the production Forfour will utilise the same 66kW/135Nm 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine designed by Renault, and which is currently installed in the new Clio.
It is also likely that a non-turbocharged version of that same engine will also debut.
While Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager corporate communications David McCarthy has said that he hopes the next generation two-seater will lob locally for “quite a bit under” $20,000, and likely below the $18,990 driveaway run-out price of the current model, he believes there is strong “doubt” that the Fourfour will cost less than $20K.
As for an SUV version of the next-generation Smart, McCarthy says that “I don’t know of any plan to do a Smart SUV,” adding that he believes the “[Mercedes-Benz] GLA-Class is small enough”.