Daimler is readying a new Smart Fortwo convertible for its public introduction at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with a debut in North America planned for summer 2016.
The iconic micro-car is heading into its third generation (fourth, if you count the original City that was also unveiled at Frankfurt, back in 1999) again with a fully automatic canvas roof Smart calls a “tritop,” which takes the car from fully enclosed to completely open in 12 seconds (even at speed). A wind deflector is available as an option and an in-between stop means the top also acts as a sunroof.
The top, which can also be operated via the remote, is reportedly tested over 20,000 cycles at temperatures between minus-15 and 80 degrees Celsius. An “abuse” test is also performed at minus-40 with an iced roof in order to check the roof’s drive-motor overload protection. Other tests include drenching the car to test for leaks, and wind-tunnel testing to check for drafts.
About four percent larger than on the current model, it is made up of three layers – the outside is a lightweight polyacrylic fabric and the inside is a polyester/cotton blend. A rubber middle layer acts as sound and weather insulator – with the thickness kept to about three quarters of an inch. It comes in three colours – denim blue, red or black – with the removable roof bars available in the colour of the Tridion cell. How the top colours work with body panel colours is not yet revealed.
The profile is definitively Smart, with its passenger bubble marked by the Tridion safety cell, and short overhangs. The styling of the safety cell is a bit sportier and set farther back, allowing for larger doors through which occupants can more easily slide into the cabin. The nose is more pug-like and the grille and headlights are larger, but the entire face is still undeniably Smart.
The reworked safety cell makes the new Fortwo Cabrio the most rigid ever, with torsional strength improved by about 15%, with additional supports under the car, in the bulkheads at the front and rear, and in the A pillars.
Power is supplied a rear-mounted 898cc 89-hp three-cylinder engine, and delivered to the rear wheels by either a five-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic.