Smart production cars don’t leave too much in the way of the imagination. But as far as its concepts are concerned, the Daimler-owned company has produced some pretty interesting design studies in the past couple of years.
Two, in particular, that stand out are the Smart Forstars Concept and the Smart For-Us Concept . At the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Smart is unveiling yet another concept vehicle, one that appears to be more audacious than anything the company has done outside the Forspeed Concept .
The vehicle is called the FourJoy Concept and really, it’s hard to come up with an appropriate adjective to describe this door- and rear window-less vehicle.
The easiest way to probably do it is to say that it’s "unique" and even saying that requires some loose definition of the word. In the end, though, this is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Smart when it comes to concept vehicles.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Smart FourJoy Concept
We’re dying to find out whether Smart really has any plans of turning any of one their fancy concepts into actual production cars. So far, the answer has been "no" and one look at the FourJoy Concept looks like that trend is going to continue.
The front profile of the concept is still similar to the ForStars and the For-Us concepts. The square LED headlights and the front grille are virtually identical. Even the honeycomb structure of the air inlets and the overall body surface of the FourJoy Concept harkens back to the past two concepts.
What’s new to the FourJoy Concept is the pronounced tridion cell, with is made of polished aluminum with the bright luster finish emphasizing the fun and sporty character of the concept. The use of a Pearleascent White shade on the bumpers, front bonnet, and tailgate also adds a nice touch and an impressive contrast to the aluminum used on the tridion cell.
Similarly, the square rear lights have been integrated into the tridion cell with the cubic configurations incorporated into the plexiglass.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what happened to the doors and the rear window glass, Smart apparently didn’t include any of them, proving yet again that quirkiness abounds when the company starts making plans for new concepts.
If you thought the interior would be free of any futuristic stylings, think again. The absence of doors and the rear window actually defeats the purpose of having an interior. But, again, this is Smart we’re talking about and its definition of conventional probably differs from the rest of us with a rationale comprehension of the word.
The most striking interior feature of the FourJoy Concept’s "interior" are the two futuristic-looking front seats and the rear seat bench with a similar design. We would have had no issues with organic shapes of the seats if they were couches, but for them to be the actual seats just turns up the uniqueness of this concept. Look closer at those seats and you’ll notice that there’s a piping-like line that winds around the sides of the seats with the same petroleum color as the plexiglass accents on the exterior.
Moving to the front, the seats and the instrument panel are supported by what Smart describes as a "continuous central structure" that features a convex surface with touch-sensitive operating functions. It looks really good relative to the entire architecture of the interior. Even the instrument panel has the same honeycomb inspiration as that of the exterior with the actual panel support made up of transparent, illuminated plexiglass.
A singe-spoke steering wheel harkens back to the original Smart and a pair of smartphones have been mounted on the dashboard and on the center tunnel at the rear. Again, the purpose of that escapes us but Smart says that it enhances connectivity between the front and rear passengers. Ok, then.
Like the past concepts we’ve seen from Smart, the FourJoy Concept employs an electric drive that can be found at the rear of the vehicle. It’s actually the same one that you can find on the current ForTwo electric drive, which means that you can expect to see a 55 kW magneto-electric motor that pumps out around 75 horsepower and 95 pound-feet of torque, allowing the concept to presumably hit 62 mph in 11.5 seconds to go with a top speed of 78 mph.
A new 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery is also part of the drivetrain configuration, allowing the concept to go 90 miles on a single charge.
It’s a concept so don’t expect pricing details to be released any time soon.
Given the characteristic of the FourJoy as a concept and the nature of its dorky appearance, is there really a car, or at the very least, a concept that can compete with this one?
Maybe the MINI Rocketman Concept from year’s past just in terms of sheer funkiness. That MINI had some weird doors, a pull-out rear compartment, and an interior with a "3+1" seating configuration.
Gallery MINI Rocketman Concept
We’ve been big fans of Smart when it comes to concept cars. It doesn’t mean that we understand what its trying to do all the time, but almost always, it delivers with the kind of impassioned creativity very few in the industry can compete it.
The only thing we don’t like about Smart is that all these incredible concepts rarely translate to production cars, and if you’ve seen any of Smart’s actual models, none of them come in the shape and mold of these concepts.
- Impressive design
- Interior looks more like a high-end living room
- Would make for a great weekend ride
- Where are the doors and the rear window?
- Unlikely to hit production
Gallery Smart FourJoy Concept
More than two seats are also fully in keeping with the smart brand experience: the smart fourjoy proves this. The study has all the typical smart attributes and embodies pure carefree enjoyment of urban life. The compact four-seater is the forerunner of a new smart generation and is celebrating its world premiere at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt (12 – 22 September 2013).
No doors, no rear window and an open roof – the smart fourjoy dispenses with unnecessary ballast. At the same time this gives viewers an unhindered view of the futuristic interior with its striking rear seat bench in the style of lounge furniture. This means that the vehicle has ample space for four people.
With its compact dimensions (length/width/height: 3494/1978/1494 millimetres) and a turning circle of 9.1 metres the smart fourjoy boasts the agility typical of the brand and is able to show off its strengths, especially in cities around the world. And thanks to the state-of-the-art electric drive with a 55 kW magneto-electric motor the zero-local-emission smart fourjoy offers agile driving performance without any shift delays.
What’s more, the four-seater has inherited many of the genes of the original smart. “The smart fourjoy is the perfect icon of our smart design philosophy that is being carried into a new era. For the first time we are showing the future sporty four-seater character of the new smart family,” says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. “The typical smart silhouette, the clear lines and styling and also the further development of the smart face make this study a modern design icon.”
Numerous design elements are a reference to the first smart model series. These include the extremely short overhangs, the wheels positioned on the four most outer points, the tail lights integrated in the sturdy tridion cell and the spherical instrument cluster.
Dr Annette Winkler, Head of smart, says: “The smart fourjoy is a study that successfully translates the unique design and the urban driving fun of the smart fortwo to an extremely compact four-seater. Numerous details of previous show cars that received very positive feedback have been incorporated in the fourjoy. The exterior proportions already reveal a lot about the appearance of our four-seater production smart which will be launched at the end of 2014 and will also enable families to travel together in a smart.”
The exterior: polished aluminium meets white pearlescent paintwork
The study shows that smart is becoming more grown-up. The deliberately three-dimensional, upright front gives it a very expressive appearance that greets the viewer with a fresh smile that is both friendly and assertive. The smart fourjoy proudly displays the large brand emblem on the front grille. The honeycomb structure of the air inlets on the front and the convex and sensuously shaped body surfaces emphasise the family relationship to the studies smart for-us (Detroit 2012) and smart forstars (Paris 2012).
The extremely pronounced tridion cell is a new feature. On the study it is made of polished full-aluminium and its brilliant bright lustre finish emphasises the premium character of the brand.
The raised smart lettering milled from aluminium on the side skirts is a further sign of the top quality. The pearlescent white on the bumpers, front bonnet and tailgate provides a contrast to the aluminium of the tridion cell. The door mirrors “float” on an aluminium stele.
A look back to the future: as with the first-generation smart fortwo the rear lights are integrated in the tridion cell. Like turbines, cubes have been incorporated into the plexiglass there. The headlamps do not have a glass cover and this reinforces the three-dimensional impression of the U-shaped daytime running lights. LEDs are exclusively fitted in the front and tail lights.
Transparent petroleum-coloured moulded parts emphasise the upbeat character of the study. They are found in the wind deflector at the top of the front windscreen, on the A-pillars on the sides and on the rear roof spoiler. The function and colour are reminiscent of 1990s tennis caps.
The interior: futuristic lounge seats for four
Without doors, a rear window or roof panel the smart fourjoy really brings the city inside. Elements that connect the exterior and the interior are the handles for driver and passenger on the side sills and the openings in the roof structure.
The most striking interior features are the two futuristic-looking front seats and the rear seat bench with a similar design. With their organic, sculptural shape they are reminiscent of modern lounge furniture.
The seat shell has a harmonious design. The rear of the seats is made of dark chrome. A piping-like line winds around the sides of the seats with the same petroleum colour as the plexiglass accents on the exterior.
Perforated and smooth surfaces alternate on the vehicle floor. As the floor is dark the seats seem to float.
The seats and the instrument panel are supported by a continuous central structure. It features a convex surface with touch-sensitive operating functions.
The instrument panel gives the impression of depth, and with a honeycomb structure and fading it takes up two themes of the exterior. The solid instrument panel support is made of transparent, illuminated plexiglass into which apertures have been milled. The striking multidimensional honeycomb structure was created by moulding on white plastic with a pearlescent effect in these areas. The design of the spherical instrument cluster and the single-spoke steering wheel are reminiscent of the original smart. Two smartphones are mounted on the dashboard and on the centre tunnel at the rear for cutting-edge connectivity and tailor-made entertainment for all four passengers.
The drive: driving fun with zero local emissions
The electric drive housed at the rear is based on the current smart fortwo electric drive. Thanks to the 55 kW magneto-electric motor the smart fourjoy is agile and lively to drive.
The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 17.6 kWh. When completely empty it takes a maximum of seven hours to fully charge the battery at a household socket or charging station on the electricity systems of most countries, i.e. overnight. The charging time at a wallbox or public charging station can be shortened to less than one hour with the 22 kW on-board charger and a rapid charging cable.
For the last mile: electric skateboards and helmets
Two longboards are fastened on the roof of the smart fourjoy. With these electrically driven skateboards it is possible to cover short distances in the city without producing any local emissions.
Helmets are stowed under the rear seats. A high-definition camera that is simple to remove is also attached here. This enables longboard riding to be filmed and subsequently shared with friends on social networks.