A cool show car is always a draw at auto shows and on the web. At smart, these futuristic vehicles traditionally hint at details of things to come. So, time to hone your “I spy with my little eye” skills …
10. smart eco-speedster convertible
Removable roof, bright yellow paint job, pop-art interior: Back in 1993, the smart eco-speedster convertible already had all of the well-loved feel-good genes of the brand. This indirect precursor of the current smart fortwo evolved from the brand’s ur-show car MCC (micro compact car) and – together with its slightly tamer twin, the smart eco sprinter – became the very first real, drivable smart prototype. So, where’s the nearest sunset?
9. smart crossblade study
Who says a car needs doors, roof, and windshield? In 2001, the crossblade study showcased the spirit of smart in its most radical guise. And there was real artistry to the design: Although it missed half a chassis, it nevertheless met all of the high smart safety standards. As an added (free) extra, owners enjoyed unlimited fresh air. And, for the odd shower, a waterproof interior to keep things dry. Since the response to this maximum of freedom was overwhelming, a limited run of 2,000 reached the streets.
8. smart crosstown
A visionary study, thanks to its hybrid engine. The angular smart crosstown lives up to its name in both engineering and design terms: The smart interpretation of a shrunken Willys Jeep, it seems well-prepared for any on- or off-road challenge. Although the edgy study raced straight from the 2005 automotive fairs into the museum, it gave us a glimpse of the pure electrified drive train that entered production only two years later for the smart electric drive.
7. smart forspeed
Picture the perfect car of the future: It would be fun to drive, just rightsized for the city and run on clean fuel. 2011’s smart forspeed, an extremely purist version of an open smart fortwo, certainly fits the bill. Both interior and exterior borrow details from the aircraft industry, while futuristic LED light design fixtures and a refined electric engine with extra boost complete the package. This boost actually found its way into series production with the smart BRABUS electric drive!
6. smart forvision
In 2011, engineers from smart and BASF collaborated on lightweight materials and energy efficiency. With the smart forvision, they managed to cut down the poundage by opting for fiber-reinforced plastics, mounting the very first fully synthetic rims ready for serial production, and equipping the roof with transparent solar cells that provided added electricity. With the forvision, the smart designers made extensive use of the hexagon-shapes, which are found in many variations inside and outside the new smart fortwo and forfour!
5. smart forstars
In 2012, smart decided to reach for the stars: Thanks to a projector, integrated into the front hood, the smart forstars took the drive-in movies experience to your nearest clean wall or façade. To up the romance factor even further, passengers also enjoyed an unencumbered view of the stars at night through the model’s glass dome roof. And since smart studies are not just lofty dreams, but also firmly rooted in reality, this coupe delivered an early glimpse of the smart range’s current design language like the honeycomb pattern of the grille, air intakes, lights, and loudspeaker covers.
4. smart for-us
Time for the ultimate beach-city-fun-sports car: 2012’s smart for-us is pick-up, buggy, convertible, and coupe in one. And thus a great blueprint for the perfect future US vehicle. After all, at some point even the last SUV fan will realize that greatness is not a question of size. While the electric engine and the honeycomb patterns of the exterior design are already part of the recent smart models, the all-carbon Tridion cell, and the electrically controlled truck bed are typical show car features that help us dreaming, just like a day on the beach.
3. smart forjeremy
A designer for stars like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Kanye West, and Björk – or brands like adidas and Moschino – Jeremy Scott usually works with fabrics and materials. For smart, the US talent designed his first car instead – and the 2013 smart forjeremy study, replete with Pegasus wings, soon became so popular among fans that smart produced a limited run with a choice of electric or gasoline engines. A truly uplifting design!
2. smart fourjoy
With its polished all-aluminum body, the smart fourjoy wouldn’t look out of place on Pluto. Yet the 2013 study was designed to provide a glimpse of the new smart forfour. Its front and rear panels certainly reflect the current model’s lines, yet the interior remains up for debate: While the study boasted space-style, yet not exactly real world-compatible seat pans, the serial version of the smart forfour comes with practical Readyspace seats. In this discipline alone, the current model wins 1:0 – a relative rarity in the automotive realm.
1. smart forgigs
Right on time for the open-air season, smart and JBL present the world’s smallest mobile concert hall: the smart forgigs. Boasting 18 loudspeakers and 5,720 watts of power, if you like your music loud, this study is a car-dream coming true. And although there are no plans for serial production yet, smart might be swayed if enough hi-fi enthusiasts start a petition … So, find out more about the new smart forgigs here and let it boom. By the way: a real-life-sized JBL audio system is available for all new smart models.
Header image: David Daub
All the other images: Daimler AG