The replacement for the aging Smart Fortwo launched back in 1998 is just around the corner with an expected launch date of March next year. The slow selling Forfour has been dropped for now and instead only one model is expected to feature in Smart’s next generation lineup. The new car has grown in dimensions with an extra 18cm in length, while wheelbase is up by just 6cm. Total weight is said to be similar to the existing model. Further, emission levels are said to be lower than that of the Toyota hybrid.

Exterior styling shares much with the current car, but features subtle differences that give a cleaner look overall. The air intakes, grille and headlights have been changed to give the car more personality, while the wheel arches are more pronounced to give a sportier look.

The major news is under the hood. The current 0.7L engine has been upgraded with a 1.0L Mitsubishi unit that will develop between 70 and 90hp, however, the 0.8L diesel units remains the same. All engines will be mated to a sequential five-speeder. There are also rumours of an all electric Fortwo EV being released in Europe next year, followed by a US release in 2008. It’s likely to feature a 70kW motor that can manage a top speed of 70mph.