Smart Fortwo

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Smart Fortwo
2008 Smart ForTwo Passion convertible -- 04-22-2011 2.jpg
ManufacturerDaimler AG
Also calledSmartCar (1998–2002)
Smart City Coupé
AssemblyHambach, France
Body and chassis
ClassCity car[1]
Kei car
Body style3-door hatchback
2-door convertible
LayoutRR layout
RelatedSmart Roadster
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Smart Fortwo
2008 Smart ForTwo Passion convertible -- 04-22-2011 2.jpg
ManufacturerDaimler AG
Also calledSmartCar (1998–2002)
Smart City Coupé
AssemblyHambach, France
Body and chassis
ClassCity car[1]
Kei car
Body style3-door hatchback
2-door convertible
LayoutRR layout
RelatedSmart Roadster

The Smart Fortwo is a rear-engined two-seater city car manufactured by Daimler AG, introduced at the 1998 Paris Motor Show as the Smart City Coupé, and currently in its second generation. The Smart electric drive, an all-electric version, was introduced in 2007, and 2,000 second-generation electric cars were produced between 2009 and 2012.[2][3]

The Fortwo's nameplate derives from its seating capacity.[1]


Transmission and shifting performance[edit]

The Smart features an automated manual transmission without a clutch pedal, six-speed for the first generation, five-speed for the second. Input from floor-mounted shifter or optional steering-wheel-mounted paddles controls a servo-operated clutch and sequential automated gearbox. The vehicle may be driven in automatic mode, though the shift points are not as smooth as in a traditional automatic transmission. In paddle shifter mode, the operator controls the shift points but cannot feather or adjust the speed of the clutch.

From 2009, second generation had improved software that made automatic gear changes both smoother and faster. The software, in the form of a free ECU upgrade, was also made available for 2008 second generation cars, with a new battery in certain cases.[4][5]

An example of smart Fortwo compact parking


The Smart car allows back-in parking in otherwise parallel parking zones; its length of 2.5 m (98.4 in) equals the width of a truck or a regular parking slot, allowing two Smarts to park in a space for a single car. However, this type of parking has been banned in Munich, Germany, amongst other places, and in most U.S. jurisdictions.[6]

Identity and registration[edit]

The Smart features interchangeable body panels, whereby a car can easily assume a different look. To accommodate a licensing agent's notation of a vehicle's color, the car is sometimes registered as silver or black based on the Tridion frame color, which remains constant regardless of the body panels.

First generation (1998–2007)[edit]

First generation (W450)
Smart Fortwo passion front.JPG
Also calledSmart City Coupé (1998–2002)
Smart Fortwo (facelift)
Body and chassis
Body style3-door hatchback
Engine0.6 L petrol (turbo) I3
0.7 L petrol (turbo) I3
0.8 L diesel (turbo) I3
Transmission6-speed semi-automatic
Wheelbase1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Length2,500 mm (98.4 in)
Width1,510 mm (59.6 in)
Height1,500 mm (61 in)
Curb weight1,600 lb (730 kg)

The first generation, model W450, first appeared in 1998. It was replaced in 2002 by a facelift version.


The engines are turbocharged with three cylinders. Originally the basic petrol engine was 599 cc, and came in three versions - 45 hp (33 kW), 51 hp (41 kW) and 61 hp (45 kW). The engine displacement was increased to 698 cc with the facelift in 2002, in 37 kW (50 hp) and 45 kW (61 hp) variants. The turbo-diesel engine had 799 cc displacement giving 30 kW (41 hp).


The Fortwo is available as a coupe or cabriolet, originally called the "city coupe" & "city cabrio", now the "Fortwo" & "Fortwo cabrio", introduced in 2000 and restyled in 2002. Model variants include the base Pure, sporty mid-spec Pulse coupe, and luxury top-spec Passion Cabriolet.


Second generation (2007–present)[edit]

Second generation (W451)
Body and chassis
Body style3-door hatchback
Engine0.8 L diesel (turbo) I3
1.0 L petrol I3
1.0 L petrol (turbo) I3
Transmission5-speed semi-automatic
Wheelbase1,870 mm (73.5 in) (2008–10)
1,867 mm (73.5 in) (2011–)
Length2,690 mm (106.1 in) (2008–10)
2,695 mm (106.1 in) (2011–)
Width1,560 mm (61.4 in) (2008–10)
1,559 mm (61.4 in) (2011–)
Height1,540 mm (60.7 in) (2008–10)
1,542 mm (60.7 in) (2011–)
Kerb weight750–795 kg (1,653–1,753 lb) (coupe)
780–820 kg (1,720–1,808 lb) (cabrio)

The second generation, model W451, was introduced in November 2006, featured slightly greater length (increased by 200mm to 2,690 mm (106.1 in)) and improved crash performance while retaining the exposed, rigid steel frame, marketed as the "Tridion" frame and interchangeable plastic body panels.

The range, including coupe and cabrio body styles, received a minor facelift in 2012, with an relocating its brand emblem within rather than above the front grille.[11]

The Fortwo is the lightest production car on sale in Europe.[12]

Engine and fuel economy[edit]

The new 999 cc I3 version 3B21 (2007 onwards) is produced by Mitsubishi Motors and it comprises normally aspirated and turbo versions. German tuner company Brabus, in a joint venture with Smart, has developed a high powered version of the 1.0-litre turbo, producing 102 PS (75 kW; 101 bhp), originally available only in Europe, but now available elsewhere. A small 0.8-litre three-cylinder turbo diesel common rail engine is available in most European markets.

European Union (EU) fuel consumption testing for the combined cycle rates the 1.0-litre mhd at 65.7 mpg-imp (4.30 L/100 km; 54.7 mpg-US), the turbo at 57.6 mpg-imp (4.90 L/100 km; 48.0 mpg-US) and 85.6 mpg-imp (3.30 L/100 km; 71.3 mpg-US) for the diesel.[13] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the vehicle at 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp) combined.[14]

At the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, Smart launched the "micro hybrid drive" (mhd) version of the Fortwo, and was launched in the UK in 2008. The technology comprises an automated start-stop system, and a belt-driven starter-generator, which replaces both the starter and alternator. The system generates electricity to charge the battery when the driver is braking, and automatically cuts the engine when the speed drops below 5 mph (8 km/h).[15] Smart claim a fuel efficiency improvement of eight percent from 50 miles per US gallon (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) to almost 55 miles per US gallon (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg-imp) — with a reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions from 112 to 103 g/km.[7] This was further improved to 97 g/km in 2010. The mhd version of the Fortwo is not available in the USA or Canada.

EngineCapacityPowerTorqueEmissions CO2Top Speed0-62 mph (100 km/h)
0.8 cdi (diesel)799 cc54 PS (40 kW; 53 bhp)130 N·m (96 lb·ft)86 g/km84 mph (135 km/h)16.8 secs
1.0 mhd (petrol)999 cc71 PS (52 kW; 70 bhp)92 N·m (68 lb·ft)97 g/km (130 g/km in NA)90 mph (145 km/h)13.7 secs
1.0 turbo (petrol)999 cc84 PS (62 kW; 83 bhp)120 N·m (89 lb·ft)115 g/km90 mph (145 km/h)10.7 secs
1.0 Brabus (petrol)999 cc102 PS (75 kW; 101 bhp)147 N·m (108 lb·ft)119 g/km96 mph (154 km/h)8.9 secs


The Smart is equipped with seat-mounted combination side airbags as well as electronic stability control. To maximize the front crumple zone, the smart Fortwo's engine is rear-mounted.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, the 2008 Smart Fortwo, the smallest car marketed in the US market, earned the top overall rating of "Good" in both the front and side crash tests. The Fortwo received the "Good" score in 8 of 11 measured injury categories.[16] Its seat/head restraints earned the second highest rating of "Acceptable" for protection against whiplash in rear impacts. The IIHS did an offset crash test with a Smart Fortwo and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is 40% of one car's driver's side head on with 40% of another car's driver's side, and the Smart received a "Poor" rating due to the occupants' heads slamming into the steering wheel. Also, there was too much intrusion into the footwell of the Smart Fortwo. The dummy movement was not well controlled. The Smart Fortwo spun 450 degrees in the air upon impact.[17]

U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test results for the 2008 Smart Fortwo:[18]

Euro NCAP crash results:[19]

Smart electric drive[edit]

Third generation Smart electric drive

An all-electric version of the Fortwo, the Smart Fortwo electric drive, began development in 2006.[20][21] Field testing began in London with 100 units in 2007, and the second generation, with a total of 2,000 units, was introduced in 2009 and available in 18 markets around the world for leasing or through the Car2Go carsharing service in San Diego and Amsterdam.[2][3][22][23] Production of the second-generation Smart Fortwo electric drive began in November 2009 in Hambach, France. The Smart EDs have a lithium-ion battery provided by Tesla Motors with capacity of 14 kilowatt-hours (50 MJ). The range of a fully charged battery is up to 135 kilometres (84 miles) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) cycle.[24][25] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's official all-electric range is 63 miles (101 km) and rated the Smart ED with a combined fuel economy of 87 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) (2.7 L gasoline equivalent/100 km; 104 mpg-imp gasoline equivalent).[26]

The third-generation Smart electric drive is scheduled to be launched in the U.S. and Europe by the second quarter of 2013 and Daimler AG plans to mass-produce the electric car with availability in 30 markets worldwide.[3][27] The third-generation Smart electric drive was unveiled at the September 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.[28] Key differences with the second-generation model include a more powerful electric motor, which improves acceleration and top speed, a new lithium-ion battery pack that will allow to increase the range to 140 kilometres (87 mi), and an option for quick-charge will be available.[3][28]


2008 Fortwo Brabus

Brabus (styled BRABUS) is a sport package that include a sport exhaust with dual center tips, sport suspension, 16- front and 17-inch rear wheels, power steering and various Brabus visual cues. An originally planned turbocharged engine was not included.[29] The Brabus package is available in cabriolet or coupe variations, the latter equipped with a glass panoramic roof, and a choice of two colors, metallic silver or deep black.

Canadian 10th anniversary edition[edit]

Smart Canada released ten 10th anniversary edition smart Fortwo cars in February 2009. Each car started life as a Canadian BRABUS model before being converted into 10th anniversary editions by BRABUS in Germany. All of the cars are arctic grey metallic with chalet brown and alcantara leather interiors with black BRABUS Monoblock 7 wheels. Each car has a number plate on the dash to signify its production number out of ten. One was given away in the tenth anniversary contest and the remaining nine cars were available for purchase via smart Canada's buyers draw.

smart Canada also commissioned Busch Automodelle GmbH to produce 1:87 scale versions (with a black tridion), of which 10,000 were made.

2012 Smart Fortwo


Electric and hybrid propulsion[edit]

International markets[edit]

The smart was initially available only in left-hand-drive form, since the design of the floorpan did not allow for right-hand-drive conversions. This restricted its availability in markets such as Australia. Smart solved the issue by designing a 'mirror image' floorpan for right-hand-drive models.


The Smart Fortwo is available in Australia since 2003 in only the middle 'Pulse' range, and with the petrol engine. As of April 16, 2007 the base price for the Fortwo coupé is A$19,900, and for the Fortwo cabriolet is $22,900. The Smart Fortwo is sold through selected Mercedes-Benz dealers.


The smart fortwo was introduced in Canada in September 2004 and sold through Mercedes-Benz dealers. Only the turbo-diesel powerplant was offered for the 450 coupé and 450 convertible models because the fuel vapour recovery system for the gasoline powered car would have had to be redesigned to meet Transport Canada standards. Diesels do not require such a system because the fuel is not volatile, so the cdi was certified instead. Demand was initially heavy, with up to six-month waiting lists in major urban areas in the spring of 2005. The vehicle has proven especially popular for light errand running for small shops and businesses, with many carrying custom paint jobs or stick-on graphics boldly advertising the associated product or service. 10,242 cdi cars were imported in model years 2005 and 2006. Two or three of these were used in Transport Canada crash testing. At least 85 of the Canadian diesels have subsequently been registered in the USA as of October 2013, all as used cars.

Canada received three special versions of the 450 cdi: the grandstyle - only available in dark green with silver, and beige leather - of which 200 were imported in coupé and cabriolet forms, the BRABUS nightrun - equipped with BRABUS accessories at the Hambach factory, which only came as a black on black (with blue-grey leather) coupé, and 50 of those were delivered, and finally the BRABUS Tailor Made Canada 1 models, of which only four were produced, three red on red and one white on white, all with highest equipment levels and all BRABUS accessories, high quality dyed-through leather and Alcantara interiors. The white car is a cabriolet, as are two of the red ones. The sole Canada 1 coupé has a fixed glass roof.

In 2008, Canada received only the gasoline 451 model because the diesel version did not meet 2007 Canadian emission standards. The 451 fortwo carries a 1.0-litre engine that delivers up to 70 horsepower (52 kW) and a re-engineered automated-manual 5-speed transmission with a slightly larger body. This engine has been the sole powertrain for Canada since the 451 was introduced - even the BRABUS models only have 70 HP. The 451 has sold very well in Canada: over 12,600 were registered between the start of 2008 and the end of 2012. The lack of a diesel option has hindered 451 sales to some owners of the diesel 450s.

Canada received several special versions of the 451 as well: the limited 1, the limited 3, the highstyle, the greystyle, the edit10n BRABUS Tailor Made (ten coupés), one all orange "Ultimate" BRABUS Tailor Made, the sharpred, among others.


The Smart "vending machine" in Shenyang, China

In April 2008, Smart first premiered in the China Auto Show 2008 in Beijing. On October 1, 2008, the Smart "vending machine" road show had the first stop in Shenyang (at Isetan), and also started the pre-order period.


There is a Japan-only variant of the first generation Smart Fortwo, called the Smart K. This is the only non-Japanese car ever to fulfill the regulations for Kei cars.

United States[edit]

Modified imports[edit]

Smart Fortwo in the United States

In early 2006, a specialty automotive import and engineering firm - G and K Auto conversions ( of Santa Ana California - after investing millions of dollars in testing and fees, received DOT, NHTSA, and EPA approval to sell a modified European specification Smart Fortwo in the US. The 23 modifications to the Smart Fortwo included DOT certified headlights, reinforced doors for additional side impact protection, an odometer that reads in miles rather than kilometers, and soft padding on the interior pillars and ceiling. Smart Fortwo dealers in the US were a mix of "green car" specialty companies (, ( and exotic car dealers. Approximately 1,000 model year 2004, 2005, and 2006 Smart cars were imported without Smart's or Mercedes Benz's cooperation and converted by G&K.

Made for US market[edit]

On 26 June 2002, a Smart Fortwo was exhibited at the new Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) affiliate P.S. 1 in Queens, New York for the first time.

In September 2006, Daimler AG announced that Smart USA, a division of Penske Auto Group (at the time of the announcement it was United Auto Group, later changed to PAG,[30] ) would be the official distributor for Smart in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The redesigned smart Fortwo (Model 451) has been available since January 2008 in the USA. Numerous changes were made from the previous model (450). Its Mercedes Benz power plant was replaced by a non-turbo Mitsubishi 3B21 engine and the overall dimensions of the car increased.

The 2009 model year US version of the smart Fortwo is available in three trims: Pure (base trim), Passion, and Passion cabriolet. Pure has an MSRP of US$11,990, Passion has an MSRP of $13,990, and the Passion Cabriolet has an MSRP $16,990.[31] A reservation program was launched by Smart USA in March, 2007.[32][33] This program allowed interested parties to place a $99 refundable deposit on the new Fortwo in preparation for the product's launch. Since the product's launch, sales have surpassed production and the reservation program continues as a "wait list" program.[34][35] The average wait used to be 12 to 18 months for delivery; although due to the economy, many buyers couldn't purchase the vehicles when they were ready for delivery and many are available on dealer lots.[citation needed]

The Smart Fortwo was rated as the most fuel efficient two-seater car in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2008 Fuel Economy Guide, with fuel efficiency ratings of 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp) city and 41 mpg-US (5.7 L/100 km; 49 mpg-imp) highway.[36] The 2008 Smart Fortwo coupe was given an EPA fuel efficiency rating of 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp) combined.[37]

On May 14, 2008, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released crash test results for the Fortwo. The IIHS gave the Fortwo top ratings in protecting passengers in front and side crashes.[38] However, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cited a Safety Concern on their tests of a 2008 Fortwo, stating "during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened. A door opening during a side impact crash increases the likelihood of occupant ejection."[39]

Chinese copy controversy[edit]

In 2007, Chinese manufacturer Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan Automobile Co released the Shuanghuan Noble (also known as the Martin Motors Bubble), designed similarly to the Fortwo and prompting Daimler AG to sue Shuanghuan for copyright infringement.[40] The German manufacturer persuaded the Italian court to prohibit the Noble from being exhibited at the Bologna Motor Show, but importer Martin Motors violated that injunction and put the car on display.[41]

In May 2009, a Greek judge ruled against Daimler, allowing the Noble to be sold in Greece. The judge cited that "if a vehicle varies in its technical specification, then any external similarities are irrelevant." This was in reference to the Noble being a front-engine, front-wheel-drive car, while the Fortwo is a similar sized rear-engine and rear-wheel-drive car.[42]


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External links[edit]