smart's next-generation fortwo city car has been spied in mule form hot-climate testing in France this week.

2012-Smart-Fortwo-mule-002

Rumour has it the new car will be available in a long-wheelbase version that would mean the car could seat four people - one of the minuscule car's major limitations thus far.

While the standard smart would remain a pure two seater, the smart fortwo+2 would have rear doors, making access into the tiny rear at least somewhat easier. An additional model would make the smart range a bit more competitive with base-level city cars like the Chevy Spark, and more premium vehicles, like the Audi A1 and the rumoured BMW Isetta.

2012-Smart-Fortwo-mule-001

Both new smarts will stay as a rear-wheel drive, keeping the engine below the floor of the boot. The added length for the backseat in the four seater will come from an elongated wheelbase.

Rumour also says the cars will be available with several engine options, a passive hybrid, and perhaps even a full electric motor when sales commence in early 2012.