Mercedes - Smart Cars
The buyers of Smart cars like to have fun, so why not produce a car that can provide that fun in bucket loads and now those people at the Daimler Chrysler subsidiary have done just that. The new Smart Roadster promises to give even more fun than it's standard brother.
Available in the UK in September 2003, whether in the standard Roadster or Roadster Coupe guise it will be the smallest sports car on our roads, in fact in Europe. It's main rivals are the Peugeot 206 CC, MG TF and Mazda MX-5. And at a competitive price it should attract lots of attention with it's cheeky styling.
First shown at Frankfurt in 1999 and then at Paris in 2000, the Roadster concept has retained most of it's styling into a Smart production model with few changes.
Unlike it's 'standard' Smart road going stablemate the Roadster will be low and be shaped generally like what you would consider a sports car to be, although the styling of that shape is certainly not ordinary or commonplace. The front air intake has the traditional Smart smile and the sills and intregral roll over bar are actually part of the chassis. The alloys are 6 spoke but look like 3 spoke, Smart won't like us for saying this but the rear quarters look like a cross between a Honda CRX and a Ford Ka but the rear quarter also incorporates the cooling ducts. From certain angles the front end of the bonnet with the wings reminded us of a shortened Corvette Stingray ???
The standard Smart Car has a 600cc, 45 bhp, 3 cylinder Mercedes Benz Turbo Engine, 6 speed Semi automatic Tiptronic gearbox, Tridion safety cell, Steel Wheels · Easy exchange polycarbonate body panels and gives 60 mpg.
The Roadster will retain some of these features including the the three-cylinder turbocharged engine which is mounted across the rear wheels. The tuned roadster however will produce 82bhp in the top specification UK models with the engine capacity upto 698cc. The lower-power version will only be offered as a limited edition left-hand drive. The rest of the mechanicals such as brakes, steering and suspension (although uprated) will remain similar to the standard Smart, this includes the interior fittings also.
Safety features include : TRIDION safety cell, roll over bar(part of the TRIDION safety cell, driver and passenger air bags, safety seats with integral seat belt and belt guidance, seat belt tensioners with belt force limiter, crash absorbing elements at front and rear, drive-lock (auto activation of the central locking when driving, indicators with lane changer function.
Fuel consumption with Softouch Automatic gearbox :
- Urban - 44.8
- Extra-urban - 65.7
- Combined cycle - 55.4
- Smart Roadster £13,495 on the road
- Smart Roadster Coupe £14,495 on the road
We can't wait to see it dashing round the country lanes!
- S. Cookson.