Smart To Take Inspiration From Mini With Its Next-Gen Models

Smart says it will take some inspiration from the first relaunched Mini models of the early 2000s with its next-generation family of models.

Mercedes-Benz recently sold half of the Smart brand to Geely and will jointly-run the city car company out of a production base in China. Successors to the current Fortwo and Forfour are expected to launch in 2022 and after that, the car manufacturer will launch a larger vehicle in the B-segment.

Also Read: 2020 Smart EQ ForTwo And ForFour Revealed With New Looks, Same Dismal Powertrain

Speaking with Autocar, Mercedes head of design Gorden Wagener said the company will look to replicate the success enjoyed by the relaunched Mini.

“The key point is that sexiness sells, and in that regard I look to those first Minis for inspiration,” he said. “There was a simplicity, a voluptuousness that gave them unique appeal – and the challenge is to get those kinds of shapes without growing the car too far or making it look too heavy. We are just at the start of the process now with Geely, but we know what direction we want to go in. Smart has grown up as a brand – it is no longer a child – and it can be justified in going in a sexier, sportier direction with its styling,” Wagener added.

Before this happens, however, Smart will hope to send off the current Fortwo and Forfour models with good sales on the back of launching facelifted versions at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show. Both models feature a rear-mounted electric motor delivering 80 hp and 118 lb-ft (254 Nm) of torque, allowing for a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 11.6 seconds for the hardtop Fortwo, 11.9 seconds for the Fortwo Cabriolet, and 12.7-seconds for the Forfour.

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  • xrnzaaas

    They need to ditch the 2 seater model and make the pricing more acceptable. It’s not an icon like the Mini allowing to charge a lot of money for not a lot car.

    • Vassilis

      The 2 seater is the perfect city car man.

      • Bash

        Even for a person living alone in a city, 2 seats are too few man.

        • Vassilis

          Well, yeah OK, if it’s the only car you own, certainly. But for a second car, for the sole purpose of driving it in the city, it’s perfect.

          • Bash

            Fine, you can have it, I’ll stick to the mini or the 500. If I well ever have to make that choice.

          • Vassilis

            The Smart is smaller haha :p

          • Bash

            Well, do you know what she said? bigger is better. 😛

  • Vassilis

    Hopefully they’ll also take a sportier direction with the way the car drives.

    • Mike anonymous

      Smart cars were not really ‘sporty’ in their performance (especially in the case of the roadster). The vehicles were more about activity, space, and fun, all within a small package.

      I don’t think it would be wise to simply do what everyone else is (or others are) already doing, but instead to regain and remember what their brand had once stood for, beyond simply ‘the small car’.

      • Vassilis

        I get your point but since they’ll take inspiration from Mini I don’t think it’d hurt to make more fun to drive. Like for example the original Mini.

  • Julien Lachemoi

    Weren’t they supposed to ditch the whole company due to poor sales ??
    Or is my mind playing tricks on me ?

  • Antonio

    They already had in their portfolio a sexy and sporty car… the roadster.

  • Mike anonymous

    I Have Been Stating This Is The Direction They Should Be Taking For Some Time Now. What Smart Needs Is A Return To Form & This Decision Could Very Well Be The Start Of Just That.

    In Addition I would suggest ditching the EQ-Design Language Implemented On The Most Recent Models & Move Back To Not Only The Form, but also the function of the future Smart had envisioned nearly six years ago (Shown Within The Post Below).

    This is the move that should most certainly be taken, But what Smart needs for success, is desirable design in form as well as function. When Smart First started out within the automotive industry, they were quite proud of ‘not being for everyone‘ and being ‘something different‘ (A quirky and high-class car of the city) unafraid to push the envelope in design (more so than in their conceptual vehicles also, but as well as) in their production vehicles.

    The first Generation of Smart vehicles were incredible (in my own personal opinion). Returning To A Vehicle Line Such As That which individual but iconic designs (referencing the Dual-Tone “C” Architecture) and forms, would bring great promise for the brand. I would love to see them start fresh, utilizing the (relatively un-used) Design Language from the ForUs & ForStars Concepts (As They Are Without Changing Them (Essentially a concept vehicle for the road)), Would bring great attention and desirability back to the brand. People generally will not buy something, they do not desire to own.

    What Smart Needs (Again) Is A Return To Form & This Decision (If Done Right) Could Very Well Be The Start Of Just That.

    • Classic Bob

      Smart’s inspiration should be one step ahead of Mini rather than trailing it by 2 decades.

      Mini however still has plenty of unused inspiration in the Rocketman and Superleggara. Will be interesting to see who taps those niches first…

  • Eduardo Palandi

    just don’t. if I wanted a Mini, I’d go buy a Mini. or, even better, a 500/500X.

  • SteersUright

    Couldn’t agree more. Go for it. Sexiness (and great to drive) does sell. Just dont follow Mini into generic, identity-less, ever-enlarging oblivion as its current cars have lost most of the original’s charm.

  • paulgdeaton

    Sexier and sportier? That wouldn’t be hard to do… a brick is sexier and sportier than a Smart…

  • Paul

    So would this be a smart thing to do or not, is the question.

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