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smart at the NAIAS 2008



Launch of the smart fortwo in the USA. The smart fortwo: Greatness is not a question of size. The smart fortwo is a compact car that is big on comfort, agility, safety and ecology. It defines a new kind of individual mobility in the USA following the principle of “open your mind.” It is a very practical and sensible car that is suitable for everyday use, but it is also an expression of confidence, forward thinking and responsibility. Source: Daimler AG.

Good things come in small packages, and the smart fortwo is no exception. With its evolutionary design, it embodies the development of an icon, the first-generation smart fortwo that was built between 1998 and 2006. Evolutionary development was the characteristic design language for smart, with the visual emphasis on functionality such as the tridion safety cell.

The engineers of the smart fortwo succeeded in producing a small but spacious car for the U.S. market. The vehicle measures a mere 106 inches in length while at the same time creates a remarkably spacious interior offering high comfort and safety. The appearance of the smart fortwo conveys innovation, functionality and joy of life.

The exterior ‑ sporty yet elegant

The two-material concept characterizes the exterior with the combination of the tridion safety cell made of high-strength steel and the use of colored body panels made of premium, dent -resistant plastic, an important distinguishing feature of the brand.

Clarity and modernity play a decisive role in the smart design. The smart fortwo is the only vehicle in its class to feature projection headlamps, which lend it a high-tech and mature face. The indicators are integrated into the headlights.

The smart fortwo has a beefy, athletic appearance. This impression is emphasized by the additional air intake, the contrasting black bottom section of the bumper and the projecting handle of the tailgate.

The horizontal door handle cleverly takes up the shoulder line just below the window edge, which runs into the front wing and the headlight. The rear window is slightly slanted, making the smart fortwo more sporty and elegant.

The rear view of the smart fortwo is adorned by four rear lights. The rear lights, brake lights and indicator light are located at the top at the roof. The bottom lights are housed in a circular reflector. Here, the rear lights are located on the top and the reversing lights at the bottom. The rear window reaches across almost the whole width of the vehicle and is framed by two black panels.

Unique in the small car segment is the ultra-light yet high-strength poly-carbonate panoramic roof. Another unique feature available worldwide is the soft top of the cabriolet version, which is fully automatic and can be infinitely adjusted to any position.

The smart fortwo does not have to be stationary for the soft top to be opened or closed - this can be done at any speed. The rear part of the soft top also can be opened to the final position and closed again at the touch of a button. This feature is a prime example of the outstanding comfort of the small, open two-seat vehicle.

All that remains for the full cabriolet experience is to remove the side roof bars. These can be taken out in no time and stowed in a special compartment in the tailgate. The soft top offers further added comfort and safety with the heated rear glass window.

The interior ‑ more space than you would believe

One of the more remarkable aspects of the smart fortwo is its amazing feeling of spaciousness that is comparable with that of a standard-size sedan. Customers getting behind the wheel for the first time are surprised at how easy it is to get in and out of the car and just how spacious the smart fortwo is inside. Even people over six feet tall do not feel cramped because of the added headroom.

The passenger seat is positioned six inches further back than the driver’s seat to give the passengers optimum shoulder room.

The safety seats with integrated head rests are well contoured and offer pleasant lateral support. The upholstery has a high quality and a silk-matte sheen. Leather trim is available as an option. Large objects can be easily transported in a fortwo.

A lever attached to the passenger seat both reclines the backrest and enables the seat to be folded forward to a horizontal position. A lever under the seats allows for proper comfort adjustments. The seats can be adjusted to various positions on a nine-inch track.

The instrument panel runs straight along the front of the car and is framed by two bows on the left - and right-hand sides that represent a visual continuation of the structure of the tridion safety cell. The bows support the upper and lower wings of the instrument panel. The lower wing also serves as a knee pad in the event of a crash.

The suspended arrangement of the instrument panel conveys a roomy feeling and makes the interior of the new smart fortwo unique. Added elements such as the external-mounted air vents and an optional rev counter and clock on the dashboard help to give the smart fortwo its unmistakable face.

The driver can see the centrally positioned speedometer through the two-spoke leather or sporty three-spoke steering wheel (with shift paddles). The large display shows the fuel level, the gear engaged and the odometer. The driver can switch between the trip recorder and the exterior temperature indicator at the touch of a button.

The control unit for heating, air conditioning and ventilation has a central, ergonomic position at the top of the center console and is framed by two additional air vents. Slide controls regulate the fan levels and the temperature of the air conditioning. The fans can be rotated by 360 degrees to distribute the air in the direction needed.

The large audio unit is located below the heating and air conditioning controls. The pure equipment line comes with radio preparation. In the passion coupe a CD radio is standard. And the passion cabriolet is equipped with a CD radio with integrated 6-CD changer and surround-sound system. Large buttons and a clear layout make operation child’s play.

The designers used the central space on the lower wing of the instrument panel for further ergonomically positioned control buttons, the seat heating, front fog lamps and central locking. The ignition lock is not located at the top of the instrument panel, but rather uniquely smart behind the shift lever instead.

Given its compact size, it is amazing how much fits in the luggage compartment of the smart fortwo. [KS1] There is more than enough room for everyday shopping, with 7.8 cubic feet of storage space. Customers who want to load their car to the roof even have 12 cubic feet of space at their disposal.

The loading space is particularly user-friendly with no edges to get in the way of the level surface. The folding rear door is a further advantage and can be used as an added surface.

In the bottom section of the tailgate, the developers integrated approximately two gallons of stowage space accessible via a lid. For the cabriolet, the roof bars can be stored in this special compartment.

The twin-section tailgate requires very little space to open in tight parking spaces. Longer objects also fit in the new smart fortwo by simply folding the backrest of the passenger seat forward into a horizontal position.

The rear window of the smart fortwo coupe (like the cabriolet’s roof) can be opened with an electric push button switch located in the handle recess above the license plate or by remote unlocking using the key. The push button switch needs to be pressed for approximately 1.5 seconds to open the doors and rear window. The driver’s door can also be opened mechanically if necessary.

Source: Daimler AG.

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