New Smart news, price and specs

The all new, third generation Smart Fortwo is revealed alongside a Forfour sibling. There should be a new Brabus version, too

The all-new Smart has been revealed, the tiddly city car entering its third generation. While it’s far from an enthusiast’s car, just like a Land Rover Defender or Ariel Atom, there’s still plenty of intrigue about such a single-minded car.

It remains rear-driven and rear-engined, too, sharing its platform and plenty of components with the new Renault Twingo. That means you can have a Smart Fortwo with a five-speed manual gearbox for the first time, putting (at last) an end to the exceedingly jerky old robotised transmission, which managed to single-handedly quash any attempt at extracting a modicum of driving satisfaction from a Smart. A six-speed twin-clutch paddleshift auto is optional.

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The engines are shared with the Twingo, coming from the larger Renault Clio, with the choice of naturally aspirated 70bhp 1-litre and turbocharged 89bhp 900cc units. Both are petrols, with no diesel version at launch. A more powerful turbo engine, with around 110bhp, is set to arrive with a new Smart Brabus hot hatch.

Two versions of the Smart launch simultaneously; at 2.7m, the Fortwo is as dinky as it has always been, while boasting a bigger boot which retains a practical split tailgate. The Forfour name returns for a new five-door supermini variant. While the previous Forfour was developed with Mitsubishi (and flopped after only a couple of years on sale), the new incarnation is a sibling to the five-door only Twingo. It’s been designed to look just like the Fortwo, and its quirky styling may be enough to garner more sales than its more conventional predecessor.

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Prices for the new Smart range are set to start at around £11,000, putting it much closer to the Mini than the Volkswagen Up that is currently the default city car choice. Without the Renault collaboration there’s a good chance the Smart brand would have been wrapped up, with profitability still evading the Mercedes offshoot. The Smart Roadster and Coupe – fun little sports cars which never proved financially viable – are therefore very unlikely to ever return.

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