Our motoring correspondent Bob Monard is a big fan of Mercedes’ little city slicker, the smart cabrio.
Mobility and cars with a compact form go very well together, and for some time now the smart car has been showing the way.
Appearing in 1998 and brought up to date eight years later, the smart (which is written with a small ‘s’ even though it belongs to the giant Mercedes-Benz) iis the smallest car sold in Belgium. With seating strictly for two, it is lively and reliable, excelling in narrow streets where it can twist and turn before parking wherever you like. Because no space, no matter how small, is inaccessible.
Its third generation (2014) is still accompanied by a convertible version. Best not disappoint the 220,000 motorists seduced by the previous generations of the smart fortwo cabrio.
Identifiable by its enhanced bonnet, ultra short overhangs, solid honeycomb radiator and diamond headlights, it is powered by a 3-cylinder 12-valve 898 cm3 and 90hp engine, developed in conjunction Renault, and positioned behind and flanked by either a Twinamic automatic dual-clutch and six well-spaced ratios. A 999 cm3 version with 71hp is also available. Functionality and design have been revised, including a tailgate in two parts with a 190-260 dm3 boot, offering even more convenience without sacrificing the look. Frankly it’s a success.
This very clever city car, at home in narrow streets and on more impressive roadways, loves the great outdoors! The 1.8 m2 electrically retractable soft-top roof opens from inside and outside via remote control in 12 seconds, regardless of the vehicle speed, and is available in a choice of blue, black and red. There are many powerful reasons for driving the smart cabrio, including its dimensions of 2,695 x 1,663 x 1,552 metres, a wheelbase of 1,873 meters, a boot capacity of 260 to 340 litres. Weighing it at 920kg, this little devil’s turning radius is only 6.95 metres!
As well as the tailgate in two parts and its new look, its functionality has been revised to offer even more convenience without sacrificing a very successful look. Add to this the multifunction steering wheel and the multimedia system controlled from a smartphone.
It also has the latest ESP® stabilization system for crosswinds (optional), hill start aid (series), anti-collision radar, lane departure warning and windbreak netting (optional).
This stunning micro city slicker boasts spaciousness, maneuverability and stability – it goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.7 seconds and cruises at 155 km/h while using up just over four litres of eurosuper per hundred kilometres.
Mercedes promotes intelligent mobility, and I must say I agree. Luckily, this commendable approach does not necessarily mean that vehicles will be left with a soulless curve. The new smart cabrio proves the point. This stylish urban vehicle is available in the 15,892 to19,939 price range. Perfectly rigid and boasting electric power steering, the Fortwo Cabrio is comfortable, safe and well soundproofed. It comes in Pure, Passion, Prime and Proxy.
Functionality, emotion and innovation are the smart’s three main values. And I’ll happily subscribe to that.