Daimler AG Considering Smart forthree Model
One of the biggest downfalls of the fuel-efficient Smart fortwo is having a seating capacity that is limited to just two occupants. In the past, a four-passenger Smart model, called the forfour, was an utter failure in Europe, but apparently Smart hasn't given up yet on introducing a larger car. Evident by a set of patent sketches, Daimler AG, parent company of Smart GMbH, is planning to compromise between the fortwo and forfour with a three-passenger vehicle called, you guessed it, the forthree. If the Smart forthree makes it into production, look for it to debut sometime in 2013 as a 2014 model.
Although the patent designs are rough sketches and resemble a dune buggy, the business case for a slightly bigger, roomier Smart model would make sense. Similar to the cabin design of the McLaren F1 supercar, the Smart forthree microcar would feature the driver's seat mounted centrally, but Smart would position the driver's seat completely ahead of the two rear passenger seats. After inspecting the sketches, it would appear that the third seat would be intended for smaller passengers to allow the driver's seat to slide and swivel toward the left side of the vehicle making ingress and egress to the center mounted seat much easier.
Other than the three-passenger layout, not much is known about Smart's future model. The signature safety cage that made the fortwo receive decent crash test ratings will also be used on the upcoming model. As for the car's powertrain, many are expecting the 2014 Smart forthree to use a three-cylinder engine derived from Mercedes-Benz and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission that Daimler has been developing for specific use in small cars. The engine and transmission would still be mounted at the rear of the car, and it looks like the front end of the larger, heavier Smart might also extend giving the car more usable cargo space than the fortwo.