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.
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