The Smart Forspeed is a fun, flies-in-your-teeth glimpse into future Fortwo's

Our Verdict

Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour in Prime spec is priced from £12,315

Smart aims to stamp some Mercedes-Benz hallmarks on the city car class

25 March 2011

What is it?

Smart’s Forspeed concept is a flies-in-your-teeth glimpse into the company’s future Fortwo model. And if this is anything to go by, we’re all in for a glossy treat.

The concept rides on the architecture of the Fortwo and features a tuned version of the electric drivetrain found in the current electric variant. The magneto-electric motor is powered by 16.5kW lithium-ion batteries, which are good for an 84 mile driving range and a top speed of 75mph, according to Smart.

Much like the funky 2002 Crossblade model, the Forspeed has its roof chopped off, its windscreen replaced with small wind deflectors and driving experience focused on fun. A Shame then that unlike the Crossblade, the Forspeed won’t make it to production.

Essentially, the Forspeed is a test bed for the company to gauge customer interest in its new design features and to welcome new ideas.

What's it like?

Climb inside the Forspeed and you’re swathed in a sea of high-end, high-gloss white plastics, which contrast nicely with green leather touches to the dash and door inserts.

Look around the airy cabin and you’ll find logically placed switchgear and a nicely finished leather-trimmed steering wheel. You sit comfortably in sleek leather seats, and would be forgiven for thinking that this concept is production ready, albeit with a futuristic flair. The green-coloured four-point harnesses seem a little unnecessary, but make more sense as the test gets underway.

Turn the key, stick the ‘box in ‘D’ and prod the bottle-opener-shaped handbrake switch and the magneto-electric motor launches the Forspeed with a pleasing sense of urgency. After about 35mph the initial surge of power drops off slightly, making it a perfect time to flick the overboost switch, had it worked. Any higher than 35mph, however, and flies turn into bullets, so probably a good thing the boost function was unattainable.

Steering is a bit of a miss-match between either too light or too heavy, the latter occurring after the initial quarter lock. Initially, this gripes, but it’s forgiven for the fact that it is still a concept.

Show it a quick corner, however, and the Forspeed’s short, stocky body, which sits on 18-inch wheels, clings on to every ounce of tarmac, making the reasoning behind the four-point harnesses more obvious. Body roll is kept to a minimum and inspires a firmer push of the not-so-loud, loud pedal.

Its brakes also inspire confidence. With a ‘modest’ weight reduction over the Fortwo cabriolet – the exact reduction wasn’t disclosed - the Forspeed’s front drilled discs and rear discs ensure that more than enough stopping power is on tap.

Should I buy one?

Given that it’s a priceless one-off and that bosses at Mercedes and Smart are quite fond of their creation, it’s a no. But if it were a model set for production, it would be a resounding yes.

The overall result of the Forspeed is one which doesn’t disappoint. It drives confidently, looks great – to these eyes at least – and paves the way for an exciting Smart future.

Alex Kersten

Smart Forspeed concept

Price: na; Top speed: 75mph; 0-37mph: 5.5sec; Economy: na; Co2: zero locally; Kerbweight: 800kg (est); Engine type, cc: rear-mounted, magneto-electric motor with overboost; Power: 47bhp; Torque: n/a; Gearbox: single speed transmission

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Comments
15

1 April 2011

For those who think they dont look rediculous enough in a normal smart......

1 April 2011

[quote fhp11]For those who think they don't look ridiculous enough in a normal Smart[/quote]

Oh, ye of little historical knowledge; we were carried around once upon a time in a similar item, less an engine, of course, a flunky either end between the shafts. Those of us with breeding to justify it, that is. Personally, I don't hold with transportation for the masses. Let them use carts.

1 April 2011

[quote fhp11]For those who think they dont look rediculous enough in a normal smart....[/quote]

If only this was the April Fools joke rather than the M3 pickup... I really hope this doesnt influence the next Smart as it looks bloated oversized & stupid.

currently a happy owner of a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin :)

1 April 2011

With the Daytime Running Lights, other drivers will certainly see you coming.

Much like the Smart dealership sales people who manage to get you into this car which, let's be honest, is hardly practical for our weather.

The existing ForTwo still looks quite fresh, so nothing too radical for the next model which is being developed with Renault to replace their Twingo would seem to be sensible.

1 April 2011

[quote Autocar]And if this is anything to go by, we’re all in for a glossy treat.[/quote] Please. please, tell me that this is Merc's idea for competing with BMW on their now traditional April 1st jolly jape.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

1 April 2011

[quote Autocar]Look around the airy cabin...[/quote]

Airy - really? with no roof?

1 April 2011

[quote fhp11]For those who think they dont look rediculous enough in a normal smart......[/quote] I don't think that when I drive my smart, which I prefer most days over my MINI Cooper. Its a marmite car for sure, not every one gets the concept behind it, but I love them.

Shame they aren't making any, the CrossBlade was a lot of fun, although not practical for the UK weather. Mate of mine used to have one and I had a go in it. Never driven anything since that was like it for fun factor! Granted it was on the sunniest day in Scotland that we had ever had lol

1 April 2011

[quote superstevie]Shame they aren't making any, the CrossBlade was a lot of fun, [/quote]Hi SS

The concept is interesting; wider, sitting squatter than it's production version, pity we're not told anything about its underpinnings. As you know, the orginator of the Smart wanted a fun and funky highly practical car for our crowded cities not the mini-version of an executive car Merc has given us. I wish Smart returned to that vision.

1 April 2011

[quote Los Angeles] I wish Smart returned to that vision[/quote] Well I agree and I don't. I am glad as I cover scotland and north england in my smart that I have a comfortable car with aircon, heated seats and a decent stereo in a car that can park in spaces I pass in my Mini. But a part of me would like to see a basic cheap as chips version available that is still funky and fun. The pure they used to sell (until the scrappage scheme was launched) in diesel form was just that. Keep fit windows no power steering, no aircon etc.

1 April 2011


.........it looks ok for a birthday cake, but without a roof where the hell do you stick the candle?

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