From £10,490
The Smart Forspeed is a fun, flies-in-your-teeth glimpse into future Fortwo's
Autocar
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.

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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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Los Angeles 3 April 2011

Re: Smart Forspeed concept

superstevie wrote:
I have always loved the smart from the very first time I saw one in 1998 in magazines
I'm with you in that too - I just wish the car was Mr. Swatch Watch man's vision and not the micro-exec car it's become. (That auto gear change is slicker and quicker!) I too have a relative swears by the Aygo, her second now, got a good deal from Toyota, but if some see a Smart as a Dinky toy then what's an Aygo - A Matchbox?

superstevie 3 April 2011

Re: Smart Forspeed concept

Los Angeles wrote:
My reasoning is, a tiny funky-styled city car is associated with fun and absolute practicality. It is what it is. A tiny executive-styled car is often perceived embarrassing to be seen in, and pretentious. It is what it isn't.
I know what you mean. I have to say though that I have always loved the smart from the very first time I seen one in 1998 in magazines, to when I seen an early LHD one in Edinburgh in 2000. I loved the funkiness of it, it looked a lot of fun. I like the fact it is a small car and you could have it basic, or with loads of big car options.

I think it is over priced when new compared to more rational cars, like a C1/Aygo/107 etc. But it has, imo, far more style and fun than cars like that. I know, my ex owned an aygo for 2 years. Cracking car for what it is, but no soul.

Peter Cavellini 2 April 2011

Re: Smart Forspeed concept

Will be seen round all the marina's of Europe, it's THAT kind of car.