In the year of the dream cars, Mercedes-Benz plays one tiny ace up the company’s sleeve: the smallest convertible currently on the market, the smart fortwo cabriolet. At a 2,695 m length and a 1,66 m width, the smart cabriolet seems to have come out of a lego set. The season of the convertibles is coming to an end, but smart is starting a new era in its segment. Photos by: Bogdan Paraschiv.
Good-mannered, colorful and friendly, the smart fortwo cabriolet plays on the same team with you in cities jam-packed with cars and provides a new perspective of the sunny days spent in the city. It squeezes, cattishly and cheerfully, among engined giants, once you switch to manual. In the automatic mode, it takes time to shift between one gear to another and the minuscule UFO-like micro car can show a bit of laziness. The confused drivers behind the itsy-bitsy smart get to see the 11 cubic LEDs of the futuristic looking tailights.
Beyond this congenial and outgoing nature, the smart is a reliable friend when it comes to parking and turning. Two smarts can fit in a space that an S-Class sedan (5116 m) would normally fit in and it only needs 6.95 meters to turn.
We took the 66 kW 90 HP smart, fitted with the „prime” equipment line, into the city of Bucharest and outside it. In the high-end sports center “Stejarii Country Club”, the only country club in Romania, the smart felt like the toy that it is and got its way on the basketball court. We didn’t dare though put it on the clay of the tennis court.
- Easy handling
- Generous interior space for its class
- Wide range of colors
- The right size for urban survival
MAX vs MIN
- Slow-shifting automatic gearbox
- Reduced visibility with the top down
- High price
But what is new in the micro convertible presented at this year’s edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show? As previously said, a whole new perspective on summer in the city, a canvas roof, that can be ordered in classic black, blue denim or red and a safety level unaffected by the absence of the fix roof. Mercedes resisted the irresistible. They decided to compromise the full open air driving sensation in the name of safety, mounting a hot-formed steel tube above the luggage compartment for extra protection in case of rolling over.
In terms of “Safety”, the smart fortwo cabriolet is keeping all the safety features that the fix roof variant is fitted with: the Crosswind Assist, the Lane Keep Assist and the warning system meant to prevent rear-end collisions are all on the options list. These, but especially the smart traditional tridion safety cell take the weight of the minuscule smart up to almost one ton (995 kilograms, to be more precise).
It takes 12 seconds for the canvas roof to fold or lift in a two-stage movement once you press the button located in the mid-tunnel. The procedure can be run even at high speeds, the smart engineers say. But the 12-second time does not include the removal of the side bars above the windows, nor storing them into their specially reserved space in the trunk.
Putting them back on needs a bit of handiness. It is said that the smart is a girls’ car, but a lady would need all of her force to position the bars correctly in place. Hopefully she can use it in case of emergency, when a sudden rainstorm starts.
There is though one thing that they would definitely love: between the leather seats (standard for the “prime” equipment line) and the boot, there is enough space to squeeze a shoulder bag and a couple of bags of clothes after a shopping session. Besides, in the lower right side of the center console, there is one more storage space, enough to fit some eye shadow kit. Ok, have it your way, even some face powder.
VerdictIts ability to squeeze through the traffic-suffocated cities and into the microscopic parking spaces has always been a clincher when deciding to buy a smart. The urban record car, as it is the smallest convertible currently on the market, the smart fortwo cabriolet brings a wide range of features and options, but the high price is somewhat discouraging.
Photo shooting location: Stejarii Country Club, Jandarmeriei Street no. 14A (District 1), Bucharest, Romania.