2014 saw the motoring equivalent of marmite enter its third generation with the launch of the new Smart Fortwo. Every bit the instantly recognisable, one-off piece of design on the outside, the latest Fortwo is not quite as unique under the flesh – it shares more than 70% of its inner workings with the third generation Renault Twingo. That’s no bad thing of course; the Twingo is a popular and well-appointed little city car that’s due to share the production line with the Fortwo’s forthcoming bigger brother, the second generation Smart ForFour.
But before then, the spotlight falls on the second variant of the new Fortwo at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. We can now reveal its identity to be the 2016 Smart Fortwo Cabrio.
Whilst the old Fortwo coupe had at least one genuine direct competitor in the form of the Toyota IQ, the 2014 edition once again ploughs a relatively lonely furrow in the micro city car arena. The brand new drop-top version will certainly have a captive audience as the only true cabriolet in its class.
Our whistle-stop tour of the new Smart Fortwo Cabrio works its way, appropriately enough, from the top down. The fabric soft-top in question returns with more bells and whistles than ever, chief among which is a new three stage folding system. At the click of a button the ‘tritop’, as it is aptly dubbed, transforms the pocket-sized Smart from a closed two-seater into a fully-fledged cabriolet in 12 seconds. However, a third setting converts the new, larger soft-top into a sliding canvas sunroof perfectly equipped for the consistently inconsistent British summer sunshine. The customisable tritop comes in either red, black or blue denim and features a pair of handy removable roof bars which stow snuggly in the tailgate when surplus to requirements. In another new addition, the top can now be dropped via remote control from outside the car.
Elsewhere, the new convertible Fortwo unsurprisingly shares many of the design cues premiered on the revamped 2014 coupe variant, including a wider grille and more rounded front headlamps. Smart’s tridion safety cell remains untouched as does much of the interior, so buyers can expect the same package of standard features found inside the coupe.
Minor changes are there if you look hard enough. Without a hard-top to support, the B pillar is slightly narrower than on the coupe and the optional wind deflector is surely a must for long(ish) spells of top-down driving.
The brace of three-cylinder engines that power the coupe are also back for the Fortwo Cabrio. Both the 71bhp 1.0 litre unit and the smaller yet more powerful 90bhp 0.9 litre engine can be combined with a five-speed manual transmission or alternatively a dual clutch automatic gearbox.
The new cabriolet will be available in three differing trim levels – passion, prime and proxy – with order books opening from mid-November 2015. Expect to see the Smart Fortwo Cabrio hit showrooms around the UK by February 2016.