What is it?
One of the last hurrahs for the current Smart Fortwo before its replacement arrives later in the year. It’s called the Fortwo BoConcept edition, and is the result of a tie-up between Mercedes’ small car offshoot and a “Danish urban interior design specialist” according to the marketing blurb.
What is it like?
Much like a regular Smart Fortwo, but one with a fancier interior and some bespoke exterior trim. On the outside, there’s a matt crystal white paint finish, 15in alloys, some lemon mirror caps, some special badges and other new trim.
None of these changes of course alter the way the Fortwo drives. The 70bhp triple remains, sending power to the rear wheels through a five-speed automated manual gearbox. And with it remains the awkward power delivery, the dead air between gearshifts, sluggish performance, and limited cruising ability.
Other remnants of the standard car include the harsh ride, slightly dead steering and handling that takes some getting used to, traits understandable when you consider the level of tuning needed to the suspension and ESP system to keep such a short, narrow track car safely on the road.
Still, the Smart’s good points are still here too underneath that new look. The fine visibility, excellent manoeuvrability and unrivalled ease of parking are all retained, as is the excellent economy.
Where the BoConcept-ness of this special edition Smart is really felt is inside, which is no surprise given interiors are BoConcept's specialist subject.
There are some chocolate brown leather-look seats, with some grey trim and lemon yellow stitching, a theme that’s continued on the smart-looking dashboard and door panels. It’s a premium look, if not to all tastes and one that does occasionally sit uncomfortably next to some of the standard-fit items, such as the instruments and heater controls.
Equipment levels are good, with a 6.5in touchscreen housing infotainment features including a top-spec audio system and a sat-nav. Air-con and iPod connecitivty are also standard alongside Bluetooth.
Should I buy one?
No. Even if you’re still sold on the idea of Smart – which we can understand why you might well be – this is a very expensive version that offers nothing other than cosmetic upgrades rather than addressing the second-generation Smart’s still fundamental dynamic issues.
If you really want a new Smart, look lower down the range, or better still wait a few months until the new model arrives in the UK after its debut at the Geneva motor show in March.
The new car has been co-developed with Renault, and insiders are talking of greatly increased rigidity and stability, improved handling, a more comfortable ride, and the end of that awful gearbox.
While the idea and worthiness of Smart has never been in question, the execution is what's been missing so far. Hopefully the third-generation car will be a car you can love with your heart as well as your head.
Smart Fortwo Passion BoConcept
Price: £11,940; 0-62mph: 13.7sec; Top speed: 90mph; Economy: 64.2mpg; CO2: 100g/km; Kerb weight: 780kg; Power: 3 cyls in line, 999cc, petrol; Power: 70bhp at 5800rpm; Torque: 68lb ft at 2800rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd automated manual