2015 Smart ForFour test mule spy shots
The reason for the Twingo body is due to the decision of Smart’s parent company Daimler to develop the platform for the new ForFour and the smaller ForTwo two-seater model together with its alliance partner Renault-Nissan, which will use the platform for its own Twingo successor.
The test mule was spotted by one of our sleuth spy photographers outside a Mercedes-Benz test facility in the south of Germany.
A previous test mule with a much shorter wheelbase, also hidden beneath a Renault Twingo body, was spotted in Germany back in February, which suggests engineers are developing new versions of the ForTwo and long-wheelbase ForFour simultaneously. However, while the new ForTwo is expected to debut sometime in 2014, the new ForFour isn’t expected until 2015.
As confirmed in their original agreement announced in 2010, Daimler and Renault-Nissan revealed that electric versions of the new Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo would be launched, and that additional variants were also planned.
All variants will be engineered on the basis of a jointly developed platform, though they will clearly differ from each other in terms of size and product design. One basic characteristic of the platform will be the unique rear-engine, rear-wheel drive concept used by current Smart vehicles. The launches of the jointly developed models are planned for 2013 onwards, which means we’re likely to see the new Twingo first as Smart has just launched a facelifted ForTwo range.
As for production, The Smart plant in Hambach, France will be the production location for the two-seater versions, while the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia will be the production location for the four-seater versions. Note, Nissan is also expected to launch its own model based on the new platform.
2011 Smart Forvision ConceptEnlarge Photo
The original Smart ForFour was only around for one generation, and sold in overseas markets between 2004 and 2006. It shared a platform with the Mitsubishi Colt and was never as popular as its two-seater sibling. A decade on, it appears the ForFour is set to return, but this time consumers are much more inclined to buy such vehicles so expect it to stay this time around and even reach U.S. shores.
2004 Smart ForFourEnlarge Photo