Exterior design: Unmistakably smart

Nov 4, 2014
The third generation of the smart fortwo has evolved progressively in terms of appearance while remaining unmistakeably smart: fresh, modern and self-confident. The smart forfour has adopted the characteristic design elements and is therefore immediately recognisable as a member of the family.
The smart brand appeals equally to the heart and mind. An expressive design language and colouring embody pure joie de vivre (fun). The proportions with their compact dimensions and the clever details testify unique functionality.
"smart stands for FUN.ctional design, as the brand is defined by two poles – the heart and mind. The design idiom is clear, purist and trendy, and the hallmark smart attributes are being adopted into a new era. These attributes include the characteristic silhouette with the ultra-short overhangs, the clear lines and forms, the tridion cell and the updated smart face," notes Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. “It is never easy to design the successor to a design icon – but here we have succeeded twice in my opinion."
The new smart generation is characterised by extremely short overhangs at the front and rear. And thanks to the 100 mm wider track, the wheels are positioned further outwards. These characteristic proportions offer outstanding visibility and agility and, together with the rear engine, enable a passenger cell accommodating an unrivalled amount of space in such compact dimensions.
The colour contrast between tridion cell and bodypanels is another characteristic feature of the smart brand. The tridion cell is therefore not only a sculptural volume; it is also a graphic unique selling point that is visible from afar.
The smart designers refer to the evolutionary development of the silhouette as the "one-and-a-half box" design. A change to the previous one-box proportions became necessary for two reasons: The higher bonnet lends the smart a more grown-up and sportier character. At the same time the increased demands on pedestrian protection and passive safety are met without increasing the size.
Friendly face
The smart has a friendly but resolute face, as smart is a self-assured but by no means aggressive brand. A decisive feature of this friendly face is the signature smart grille, which is now slightly larger. The grille's perforated structure results from a honeycomb pattern – a design theme that the smart designers had already implemented in show cars such as the smart fourjoy and that is cited in many places on the exterior and the interior. The honeycomb is paler towards the outside – the designers refer to this as fading. The radiator trim is available in a variety of colours to match or contrast with the bodypanels, including black, cool silver and white. The second, black cooling air opening in the bumper also features the honeycomb pattern.
The markedly larger updated smart logo in the middle of the grille radiates self-confidence. It is now three-dimensional and almost spherical in shape, harmonising with the smart's distinctly more sensuous lines. The logo features a matt finish rather than a high-gloss look, similarly to all the sparingly applied chrome accents.
The rhombic front lamps are truncated slightly at the top, producing a look that is sporty but not aggressive. The U-shaped daytime driving lights add a characteristic design feature. In combination with the LED & Sensor package, the headlamps incorporate a welcome function: when the car is unlocked, the light in the headlamps pulsates, as if the smart were welcoming its owner.
A loving attention to detail is demonstrated, for example, by the way in which the honeycomb pattern is cited in the headlamp lenses. On the indicators, the honeycomb pattern even performs the function of dispersing the light. The bonnet also highlights the new sculptural lines, describing a powerful and sporty downward sweep between the headlamps.
The new smart forfour is clearly recognisable as a member of the new smart family. For example, it features identical headlamps and cooling air grille at the front. The technical parameters necessitate modification of the bumper details, although these modifications and the somewhat longer front overhang do not immediately strike the eye.
Typical smart genes in the side view, too
Naturally enough, it is in the profile that the greatest difference is to be found between the fortwo and the forfour: the smart fortwo has a large door extending into the B-pillar with a frameless window. The typical smart genes are thus recognisable from afar on the road: the striking door contours and the unique tridion cell. A characteristic swage line, such as is featured in the middle of the doors, underscores the brand image. This is adjoined by the fuel filler cap on the right and the air inlet for the rear engine under the B-pillar on the left. The door is made of plastic as before, allowing the king of the car park to shrug off any knocks and bumps from other road users.
The side view of the smart forfour reveals the same elements as the fortwo, but has a longer tridion cell as well as the additional door. The front and rear overhangs appear just as short as on the fortwo. The forfour's roof line slopes downward towards the rear in coupé style.
A new feature on both models is the pronounced shoulderline. This gives both variants a beefy road stance and establishes a visual separation between vehicle body and greenhouse.
The twin-section tailgate is naturally on-board again
smart drivers love the twin-section tailgate. The new smart fortwo thus boasts this special feature once again, enabling the vehicle to be loaded even in the tightest parking spaces. However, it is now much easier to open thanks to the new position of the opening button. Raised lettering on the lower section signals the brand identity. It is crowned by a roof spoiler with an integrated additional brake lamp.
The rhombic tail lights framed by the tridion safety cell are reminiscent of the first smart generation and combine with the large track width to emphasise the width at the rear. A unique LED scenario is optionally available in conjunction with the LED & Sensor package: eleven individually illuminated cubes are allocated to each tail light, providing for a striking night design. The typical honeycomb pattern features once again in the clear glass over the indicators and reversing lights in the middle of the lamps.
On the fortwo the number plate is accommodated between the lamps in the lower section of the tailgate. The bumper is painted in the colour of the body and the lower end piece comes in black. On the left-hand side in the direction of travel the bumper has a cut-out for the visible tailpipe of the exhaust system (optionally available with sports trim) and this is also where the distance sensors are positioned (also available as an option).
The smart forfour essentially has the same elements as the smart fortwo. It is fitted with an upward-opening single-section tailgate, however, to enable convenient loading of the lower luggage compartment. This sports a smart logo where the reversing camera (available as an option) is concealed. The number plate moves to the bumper.
Around 40 possible combinations for the exterior colours
New, rich exterior colours and around 40 combination options for bodypanels and tridion cell signal the brand's upbeat image. New colours now available include moon white (matt), lava orange (metallic) and hazel brown (metallic), which can be applied to contrast with new colours for the tridion cell such as cool silver (metallic) or lava orange (metallic).
The range of wheels includes five exclusive alloy wheels in 15- and 16-inch format and 5-twin-spoke or 8-spoke design and in monochrome and bi-chrome look (painted black with a high-sheen finish).
The colour and material concept underscores the easy-going and charming character of the current smart generation. As illustrated here by an interior design sketch
The new smart fortwo 2014: design sketch, exterior
The new smart fortwo 2014: design sketch, exterior
The new smart fortwo 2014: design sketch, exterior
The design process at the smart fortwo. Designer Matthias Scheffzuek, Michael Gebhardt (from left to right)
The design process at the smart fortwo. Designer Michael Gebhardt, Hendrik Fries (from left to right)
Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG at the new smart fortwo
The responsible Designer at the new smart fortwo
The design process at the smart fortwo: Gorden Wagener, Michael Gebhardt and Kai Sieber (from left to right)
The design process at the smart fortwo. Designer Michael Gebhardt, Hans-Peter Wunderlich (from left to right