Smart – the company behind the iconic ForTwo city car and ForFour hatchback – will unveil its first-ever Sport Utility Vehicle later this week.
Conceived as part of a tie-up between Mercedes-Benz – who handle the styling and aesthetics – and Chinese carmaker Geely – who is responsible for the technology and assembly – the sales are expected to begin in the second half of the year.
The company is promising a look that closely resembles that which was previewed on the #1 concept car at the IAA Mobility Show in Munich last September.
The showroom-ready model is set to share the #1 car’s footprint, meaning it will measure 4.29 metres long, 1.91 metres wide and 1.70 metres high. And from the official images of the heavily camouflaged prototype, it is clear it will get the same pear drop-shaped LED headlamps and wraparound tail-lights.
Less likely to make it into production are doors that open in opposite directions given the problems they tend to create for users, particularly in tight parking situations.
The four-seat layout should also make way for a more practical five-seat arrangement, with Smart already on the record as saying space and storage will equal that of a car from the class above.
In terms of technology, much of this will be carried across from current cars in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, including a large ‘floating’ centra infotainment touchscreen.
Not only is this the first SUV Smart has built – it is also believed to be one of the most aero-friendly. The most obvious advantage of this is a car that can travel farther between charges, with official figures expected during Thursday’s event in Berlin.
“This is a truly exciting time for the smart brand”, says smart UK CEO David Browne. “The upcoming reveal of the smart #1 is a key milestone in the evolution of our brand, reflecting our history of innovation, outstanding design and space efficiency.
“Our dedicated electric platform and high degree of connectivity make for the ideal electric car to meet the needs of UK car buyers,” he added.
Pre-production testing has recently been completed in northern China, with the SUV’s battery and technology systems said to have been “put to the ultimate test in -40°C temperatures”.