Forstars: the Future for Smart?

  • 09-Oct-2012 11:21 EDT
Par2012SmartForStarsconcept_1.jpg

The Smart Forstars concept integrates a video projector in the hood. (Headlineauto)

Does the Smart Forstars concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show give a hint at future design direction for the Daimler subsidiary’s compact Fortwo two seater? Head of Smart, Dr. Annette Winkler, gave an answer in her press conference speech: “The Smart Forstars offers another glimpse into the future of Smart. Some design details of this car you will find in our upcoming Smart four-seater.”

The Forstars concept provides a different interpretation of the Smart two-seater formula, presenting a more contemporary shape. Comparing the dimensions with the current Fortwo, the Forstars concept is 855 mm (33.7 in) longer, 151 mm (5.9 in) wider, and up to 37 mm (1.5 in) lower. The wheelbase is some 603 mm (23.7 in) longer at 2470 mm (97.2 in). The track is some 193 mm (7.6 in) wider at the front at 1475 mm (58.1 in), remaining the same at the rear, making it 90 mm (3.5 in) wider than the current Fortwo. The Forstars’ main body features are shared with those of the For-us concept seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

Smart refers to the Forstars as a sports utility coupe, with the extra length providing a stowage space behind the seats that is 900 mm (35.4 in) longer than that of the Fortwo. This is accessed through the glass tailgate at the rear, while the lower tailboard can be lowered electrically into a position parallel with the load floor, then retracted by 280 mm (11.0 in), improving access to the cargo area.

Inside, the seat shells incorporate an open section in the center, covered with a fabric throw, which can be switched for a change of color. The open section also allows for loading of long items through the passenger seat with the seat cover removed.

The Forstars name is a reference to the convex glass roof above the seats, potentially providing a nighttime view of the stars. The lighthearted theme is continued by the video projector integrated into the hood. This would be operated via Bluetooth from a smartphone, mounted in a bracket where the rear-view mirror would normally be sited. Using a rear-mounted video camera, the smartphone would double as a rear-view mirror, media source, and control system for the video projector, providing a personal drive-in movie service using a suitable wall. Cinema sound would be provided by speakers concealed in the ventilation openings in the side panels behind the doors.

The rhombic front lights incorporate an “eyebrow” section, and a ring of LEDs around the headlamp provide the indicators and daytime running lamps. The rear lamps echo the rhombic shape of those at the front. Both rear lamps open. One can accommodate a drink can and the other the recharging point for the battery pack.

The Forstars is powered by the same 60-kW electric motor that powers the new Smart Brabus electric drive. The drive motor delivers 135 N·m (100 lb·ft) of torque to propel the car to a claimed top speed of over 130 km/h (81 mph). The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 17.6 kW·h. Recharging would take up to 7 h from a 230-V domestic socket or 1 h from a rapid charging point.

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