2016 Smart ForTwo Cabrio is now official ahead of Frankfurt Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 15, 2015

The upcoming Frankfurt International Motor Show is the venue for the unveiling of the open-top version of the smart fortwo, which will be launched in the United States. The new fortwo cabrio is said to be three cars in one – all transformations done with a touch of a button. At its initial form, the fortwo cabrio is a closed two-seater.

However, it can be transformed into a car with a large sliding canvas sunroof. It can also be transformed into a full-fledged cabriolet with the opened soft top for an open air driving experience. These transformations have been made possible by the "tritop" folding soft top and the removable roof bars.

Also, the smart fortwo cabrio is considered to be the only true cabriolet in its vehicle class. The fortwo cabrio takes only 12 seconds to fully open at a push of a button. Even when the vehicle is being driven at top speed, it won’t take a long time before occupants could enjoy the sun.

Even when the driver has yet to get in the fortwo cabrio, the soft top can still be opened by remote control. To transform the smart vehicle into a full cabrio, a driver simply needs to remove the side roof bars, which can be stowed on the inside of the tailgate. When in need for storage of small items, this compartment can also be used.

The "tritop" fabric soft top used on the new smart fortwo cabrio – measuring 19.4 sq. ft.in total area and 0.8 inch in thickness -- is around four percent larger than its predecessor. Its outer covering is made of a lightfast polyacrylic fabric while the inside is made of a combination of polyester cotton mix. Separating these two is a rubber layer.

Customers can choose from three different colors for the tritop: blue denim, red or black. The removable roof bars are in the tridion color. The rear windscreen of the vehicle is heated and is made of glass. The new smart cabrio measures 8.8 x 5.4 x 5.1 ft (length/width/height) and exudes the smart design philosophy of FUN.ctional design.

Its design features the typical smart silhouette with ultra-short overhangs, clear lines, shapes and surfaces and the tridion safety cell. The fortwo cabrio features a grill in a fading honeycomb design and the rhombic headlamps. Its B-pillar is narrower than on the closed variant while the design of the tridion safety cell is more progressive.

To meet the requirements of mandatory crash tests, the fortwo cabrio’s safety include the tridion safety cell for efficient energy absorption. The feature has allowed Mercedes-Benz to pass crash tests like the "roof-drop" test.

The new smart fortwo cabrio is still powered by the 89 hp three-cylinder engine that powers the coupe version. The engine is mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or the automatic twinamic dual clutch transmission. The fortwo cabrio still possess the agility typical of the smart brand with the 22.8ft (from curb to curb) and 24ft (from wall to wall) turning circle.

Customers can choose from four lines: pure (as standard), passion, prime and proxy. They could also select from a huge array of safety and comfort features. Offered as standard are a smart radio with Bluetooth technology, automatic climate control, power windows, power steering and cruise control.

Also featured as standard are a multifunction steering wheel, LED Daytime Running Lamps and alarm system. Customers could also avail of a wind deflector as an option. Inside the cabin, styling is underscored by a "dynamic loop" as a signature feature.

Press Release

THE NEW smart fortwo cabrio: SUMMER IN THE CITY

The countdown has started for the new fortwo cabrio, a particularly iconic variant of the new model series. The open-top two-seater will have its world premiere in September at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The new smart cabrio will be available for ordering from mid-November and the first models will reach dealers in February 2016.

Three cars in one: at the touch of a button the new smart cabrio is transformed from a closed two-seater into a car with a large sliding canvas sunroof, or a fully fledged cabriolet with the soft top completely open. This enables the fresh air driving experience to be adapted to the weather or the driver's mood. This flexibility offered by the "tritop" folding soft top and the removable roof bars is a special feature – and not just in this segment. At the same time, the new smart cabrio is the only true cabriolet in its vehicle class.

"Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for," says Dr Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon."

The new smart cabrio (length/width/height: 2.69/1.66/1.55 m) is clearly recognisable as a member of the new smart generation. The third model also embodies the smart design philosophy of FUN.ctional design, defined by two poles - the heart and mind. The design idiom is clear, purist and very progressive. This includes the typical silhouette with ultra-short overhangs, the clear lines, shapes and surfaces and, of course, the tridion safety cell. With the grille in a fading honeycomb design and the rhombic headlamps, the face is unmistakably smart. The B-pillar is narrower than on the closed variant and the styling of the tridion safety cell is more progressive, giving the smart fortwo cabrio an even sportier and more forward-focused look.

Prospective customers can choose between three different colours for the "tritop" fabric soft top: blue denim (jeans look), red or black. The headlining is always grey. The removable roof bars that can be stowed in a compartment in the tailgate come in the tridion colour.

Soft top: opens within twelve seconds

When the sun peeps out from behind the clouds, smart fortwo cabrio drivers can react quickly: the fabric soft top can be opened fully automatically in twelve seconds – even when driving at top speed. With the 3-button key the soft top can also be opened from outside the car by remote control.

Removing the side roof bars enables a full-blown cabrio experience. The roof bars can be stowed on the inside of the tailgate. This stowage compartment in the tailgate also offers additional stowage space for small items, for example fluorescent jacket, first-aid kit or warning triangle.

With an area of 1.8 m2 the "tritop" fabric soft top is approximately four percent larger than its predecessor. The outer covering is made of a particularly lightfast polyacrylic fabric and the inside features a polyester/cotton mix. There is a rubber layer in the middle. The soft top has a total thickness of 20 mm. The rear windscreen is heated and is made of glass.

Safety: occupant protection space validated in roof-drop test

The new smart fortwo cabrio is the most rigid smart cabrio ever. The torsional strength has been improved by around 15 percent compared with the predecessor. The material mix comprises a high proportion of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steels.

In addition, the cabrio has been specifically reinforced in decisive places in comparison to the coupé. The modifications include a large steel cross under the vehicle, two torsional bulkheads under the vehicle at the front and rear and an inner tube in the A-pillars made of high strength hot-formed steel.

As well as meeting the requirements of mandatory crash tests, the new smart fortwo cabrio – with a safety concept that includes the tridion safety cell typical of the brand for efficient energy absorption – also passes additional Mercedes-Benz crash tests that often have much stricter requirements. This includes the "roof-drop" test. Here the body falls at a slight angle from a height of 50 centimetres onto the roof structure and the vehicle hits one of the two A-pillars.

Advanced assistance systems which were previously the reserve of higher classes of vehicle help to prevent accidents. These include the latest-generation ESP® with Crosswind Assist and hill start assist (standard), forward collision warning (option) and Lane Keeping Assist (option).

Model versions: two engines, two transmissions, three lines

The new cabrio will initially be available with two state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines rated at 71 hp and 90 hp. Both engines can be combined with the five-speed manual transmission or the fully automatic twinamic dual clutch transmission. Needless to say, the smart fortwo cabrio has the agility typical of the brand – at 6.95 m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30 m (from wall to wall) turning manoeuvres are extremely simple.

In addition to the three lines passion, prime and proxy, customers can choose from a large range of safety and comfort features – including the new features added in the latest facelift such as smartphone integration with MirrorLink® (standard in combination with the smart Media-System) or the Urban Style package (including black wheel arch linings and lowering kit). The high-quality and charming interior of the smart fortwo cabrio corresponds to that of the closed variant with standard features including two sun visors with make-up mirrors, a centre console with drawer and coat hooks at the rear on the crossbar. A wind deflector is optionally available. The interior styling is sure to delight and is characterised by a "dynamic loop" as a signature feature throughout the interior - emotional sweeping lines which feature on the dashboard and doors, for example.

Endurance testing: extensive testing in laboratories and on the road

The testing programme for open-top vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Cars is extensive – and identical for all models: The new smart fortwo cabrio was therefore subjected to the same rigorous tests as, for example, the S-Class Cabriolet from Mercedes-Benz. For example, in an endurance test the opening and closing of the soft top was simulated over the whole vehicle life cycle. As well as this component test, which comprises 20,000 cycles, the soft top and the soft top mechanism must also prove themselves in the climatic chamber. Because perfect functioning must also be ensured at temperatures between –15 and +80 degrees centigrade. In addition, an "abuse test" is performed at – 40 degrees centigrade with a completely iced roof: in this case overload protection protects the motor of the soft top drive.

The car wash test ensures that smart cabrio passengers always stay dry. At 500 cycles, the requirements correspond to those for the coupé. In addition to this testing in the development phase, every single smart cabrio is also tested for leak-proofness: at the end of the production at the Hambach plant every vehicle is sprinkled with a standardised amount of water for seven minutes.

The developers tested the maintenance of a draught-free interior in the Mercedes-Benz wind tunnel with the help of the dummy "Tanja". She is fitted with a total of 16 speed sensors on her neck and arms which allow the flow speeds of the wind in the interior to be measured.

In addition, there is extensive overall vehicle testing on testing grounds and roads of different quality around the world.

smart cabrio: a car with cult character for 15 years

At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 1999 smart surprised the world public with a number of new model studies. A cabrio version was presented that was based on the smart city-coupé. This model opened a whole new dimension to the "closed" micro car community by opening up the roof. The smart cabrio offers pure joie de vivre. From the spring of 2000 the world's smallest production cabriolet rolled off the production line and onto European roads. Since the first model change in 2006 the soft top has been fully automatic. For the third generation available from 2010 new soft top colours in red and blue expanded the range of colours.

But this is not the only model in the history of smart to offer a fresh air driving experience. A special vehicle variant that was launched on the market in 2002 offered a true open sky feeling: the smart crossblade. It had no doors, no roof and no windscreen. Its drivers were able drive through the countryside under open skies with the wind in their face for an incomparable driving experience. A narrow, tinted wind deflector was all that was stretched across the cockpit area to reduce the headwind. A year later smart decided to introduce a small series of the vehicle onto the market.

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