Forstars Concept Previews a Big Future for Smart

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Daimler city car grows bigger - much bigger - for concept car that previews the next Fortwo.

14 years is a long time for any car to be on the market. And as revolutionary as it was at the time, the Smart Fortwo is by now showing its age. So to keep ahead of the competition that has sprung up since Swatch and Mercedes-Benz teamed up for the original, the Smart brand is preparing to launch an all-new city car. And this is our first look at it. Called the Forstars, what we have here is a concept that previews the design of the next production Smart when it debuts at the Paris show later this month.

While the design is clearly different from the existing Smart Fortwo, the biggest difference in this design study is the size: it's almost a third longer than the current model, ditching its trademark compact form - embraced by so many for its easy parking and maneuverability - for a larger format that's just nine inches shorter than the new A-Class, leaving us to wonder what the point is. It's also wider, but shorter in height than the current Smart, adopting a form that looks closer to the fun but ultimately unsuccessful Smart Roadster. The powertrain, meanwhile, is lifted directly from the Brabus Smart Electric.

The styling, meanwhile, is a typical look-at-me concept-car affair, penned at Daimler's design studio at Lake Como in Italy. As a party piece it incorporates a movie projector as a party piece so that the car can be parked in front of any clean wall to make for an instant drive-in movie theater, and a smartphone dock to display a feed from the rearview camera instead of a conventional rear-view mirror. Of course many of those elements won't make it to the production model, but when that debuts sometime within the next year, expect it to look more like the Forstars than the Fortwo.

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