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Paris show: Smart considers a crossover

Look to the sky: The Smart Forstars has a video projector inside the bonnet scoop and a full-glass roof.

Smart Forstars EV concept hints at crossover and previews next ForTwo and ForFour


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17 Sep 2012

SMART will display a fully-electric ‘Sports Utility Coupe’ concept at the Paris motor show later this month, hinting at a future urban-oriented compact crossover rival for the Mini Paceman and Volkswagen Cross Up.

The Forstars hatchback – named for its glass roof that gives a “clear view of the starry sky” – follows in the wheel-tracks of the cheeky Smart For-us concept ute displayed a the Detroit motor show earlier this year.

As well as potentially pointing the way forward to an expansion into the booming crossover market, the Forstars is said to preview the styling of Smart’s next-generation ForTwo and ForFour models that are being developed in collaboration with Renault for release in early 2014.

Smart parent company Daimler and Renault formed an alliance in April 2010, with one of the key projects to be the joint-development of a compact vehicle platform to underpin two- and four-door Smart models and the Renault Twingo.

Respected UK publication Autocar this week quoted a high-ranking Smart source stating that the niche company “couldn’t ignore” the growing small SUV market and that it intended to enter the fray.

#gallery#The chunky concept has familiar Smart touches like contrasting body colours, tiny front and rear overhangs and bulbous contours, mixed with a Citroen DS3-style B-pillar and raked rear window.

A more overtly concept-car touch is the “ironic” Bluetooth video projector located in the faux bonnet scoop that “can transform any grey backyard into an animated open-air cinema”.

The Forstars has a longer wheelbase and a wider track than the current Smart Fortwo, as well as a more upright nose with rectangular headlights and perforated grille design. Smart says the ‘alubeam rouge’ red paint is a nod to the venue of its world premiere.

The glass roof joins seamlessly with the electric-opening glass rear hatch, while the 900mm-long cargo floor can contract to give easier access to items stowed behind the front seats.

The two-door concept is understood to share its rear-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout with the For-us, plus an upgraded version of the magneto-electric motor from the production Smart EV developing 60kW of power and 135Nm of torque, hooked up to a 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery.

The theoretical top speed is 130km/h, and Smart promises “agile and lively performance” plus typically lag-free acceleration.

The red-and-white interior design is sparse and includes a retro steering wheel and instrument binnacle, while the red colour highlights and removable seat covers are said to preview a future of Mini-style cabin customisation options.

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