Watch new Smarts in winter testingComment on this story
Somewhere inside the Arctic Circle, Sweden - One thing about Daimler: when they say cold-weather testing, they really mean it. The latest video from Smart shows the third-generation Smart ForTwo and ForFour sliding around on a frozen lake at a secret testing facility so far north that the only unauthorised witnesses are likely to be reindeer.
According to Smart chief engineer Markus Riedel, who does the driving in the video, “The car is ready to be launched”. Expect to see it (without camouflage!) at one of the big motor shows later this year - possibly the Paris Salon in September - for its world launch as a 2015 model.
RENAULT TWINGO UNDERPINNINGS
While each version now has a genuine bonnet - mostly for pedestrian protection in Euro NCAP testing - the engine is still under the luggage compartment at the back, as on the new Renault Twingo (first seen at Geneva in March) with which it shares its platform.
The new Smarts are also expected to share the Twingo's engine options - a naturally aspirated, 51kW, 999cc three-cylinder petrol engine, or a 66kW, 898cc turbopetrol three, each with either a manual or a dual-clutch transmissions.
And yes Cyril, they really are as tiny as they look - despite the Twingo chassis' longer wheelbase and wider track (which Riedel hints will make them a lot more fun to drive than their predecessors) the third-generation ForTwo is just 2629mm long overall - nearly 150mm shorter than the original.