With the calendar turning over a new page to 2012, the very first major auto show is set to open its doors in Detroit when the North American International Auto Show welcomes automakers - both local and foreign - to the Motor City.
This year, American brands are coming to Detroit in full force where they will be joined by a number of international automakers in presenting a steady diet of concept cars, production debuts, and just about everything else in between.
As for the local contingent, Ford is leading the way with the premiere of the Fusion global mid-size sedan while Dodge is set to introduce their Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based compact sedan, the Dart.
There’s plenty of action headed to Detroit when the 2012 NAIAS opens its doors on January 14th. Head over after the jump to check out a preview of all the cars scheduled to be part of all the festivities.
The next big auto show will take place at the turn of the calendar, but as early as now, we’re getting a good look at some of the concepts that are scheduled to be in attendance at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.
German automaker, Smart, has never been shy when introducing zany concepts in the past and it’s looking like they’re going to unveil a new one in Detroit.
The car is called the "For-Us" Urban Pick-Up Concept that Smart is describing as a concept targeted to the "young and young-at-heart with active lives who attach importance to low emissions and taking up minimum road space."
The description is pretty much apt to all their previous concepts so there’s nothing unique there. What’s different, though, is that the For-Us Urban Pick-Up Concept comes with an electrically-powered tailboard that opens and retracts with a 900mm cargo area that’s big enough to hold and serve as a charging port for as much as two Smart E-Bikes.
This review has been updated with official details and photos that you can find after the jump
The 2011 LA Design Challenge produced some pretty interesting and futuristic Hollywood rides. But after the dust had settled, we had a repeat winner taking home the 2011 title.
The Smart 341 Parkour, which was designed by folks from the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studios in Sindelfingen, Germany, won the LA Design Challenge, on the back of a clever Hollywood story involving Annie Angle and her super sleuthing skills in Carntpark City.
This is the second year in a row that Smart has won the LA Design Challenge. Last year, the Smart 454 WWT shared top honors with the Cadillac Aera after judges declared a tie on a four-passenger car being built under the premise that it tips the scales at just under 1,000 lbs.
This year’s theme involved not just developing a perfect Hollywood car of the future, but also about inventing a story that puts the car in the forefront. With the 341 Parkour, Smart conveyed the theme to a tee by designing a car that combines innovation and functionality with an exciting film plot.
Just in case you’ve forgotten the capabilities of the 341 Parkour, the designers envisioned this revolutionary ride using parkour as an inspiration. So instead of people jumping in and around whatever obstacles in a given location, the 341 Parkour does all of that itself.
Congratulations to the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studios for their back-to-back LA Design Challenge titles. Now the pressure’s on to hit a "three-peat" in 2012.
As a futuristic cross between Nancy Drew and Veronica Mars, Annie Angle is a reporter from Cantpark City with a very inquisitive mind. After an article in a newspaper catches her attention - “Smart Granny Robots missing!!!” - Angle immediately is thrust into action, determined to solve the mystery of the missing Grannies to not only restore some order to an otherwise friendly and beautiful city, but also launch her career as an up-and-coming investigative journalist.
Aiding in her quest for answers is her trusty steed, the Smart 341 Parkour, a futuristic concept vehicle that plays a key role in this private investigation. With a design that every sleuthing-obsessed individual will love, the 341 Parkour offers a number of features that are unprecedented in today’s world.
It has a large greenhouse that provides 360 degrees of visibility while traveling through the inner city. It also has a set of wheels that are not only retractable, but also contain impulse pads and vacuum cups. Moreover, the concept is wrapped with a hexagon skin and carries a number of driving modes that can turn the 341 Parkour from a steady road-running car into a hover craft, as well as a mechanical wall-climber that can scale the sides of even the highest of skyscrapers.
The car may not look the part of an all-utility ride, but that definition for a vehicle could be changed in the future. In the world of Annie Angle and Cantpark City, the Smart 341 Parkour is about as do-it-everything as it can get.
After four years out on the streets, the Smart ForTwo deserves a new generation model. To their credit, Daimler is preparing to accommodate with the debut of their new ForVision Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The new concept vehicle is intended to show two things: the new design direction that Smart is undertaking and new technologies that the company is readying for their future models. The latter was made possible by Smart’s collaboration with BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, in the development of several advanced technologies that will be used on the concept and any other future models that could follow suit.
For this particular model - the second Smart concept to come out this year after the ForSpeed - the whole idea was to build a platform for future vehicles. Among the new materials that were built into the car with the idea of future production use include revolutionary plastic wheels and carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy resin for the doors and the passenger compartment. The latter allows the car to reduce up to 50% of its weight compared to steel and 30% when compared to aluminum. The ForVision Concept also carries a solar roof that provides an alternative source of energy for the concept’s electric drivetrain.
Since the ForVision Concept is still, well, a concept, expect the production version to be a little more attuned to the times. That’s not to say that it won’t carry all of the features of the concept version; it’s just that as far as concept-based production vehicles are concerned, it’s probably to temper expectations on the car.
Brabus, along with street fashion brand, WeSC, is headed to the Frankfurt Motor Show with another product of the Automotive/Fashion world. Their little collaboration yielded a tailor made Smart ForTwo Cabrio and a special set of headphones specially designed for the Smart by WeSC.
This special Smart will be sparkling in gold shades throughout the exterior - part matte, part high-gloss - with all of the colors created for the Swedish label by automotive tuning firm, Brabus. The gold paint has been combined with black wheels and black leather seats with crossways quilting that bears the unmistakeable signature of the street style experts.
This special Smart by WeSC will be offered with air conditioning, a leather BRABUS sports steering wheel with steering wheel gearshift, the turbocharged 100 HP engine, and plenty of other features. Aside from the automotive additions, the most impressive feature for the new Smart is the 32-ohm headphones from WeSC, giving a nod to the car’s look, as can be seen in the perforated black ear pads and high-gloss golden highlights.
A successor to the original Smart Roadster has been in the pipeline longer than we can even remember so it figures that it’s only a matter of time before we see an image of the new car hit the Web.
Well, thanks to a Smart customer, we may finally have the first rendering of what the new Roadster is going to look like. There’s no word yet on what kind of powertrain the new Roadster will carry, but judging from the rendering, the new Roadster does bear some striking similarities to the ForSpeed Concept that we saw last March at the Geneva Motor Show.
Dare we say, there might even some Mercedes, Porsche and MINI design elements added to the car’s classy yet sporty overall profile. Then again, we’re not the least bit surprised that there’s some Merc design influence on it, seeing as Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, also owns Smart.
Similarly, the underpinning for the new Roadster hasn’t been revealed yet, although you could point out to the recent collaboration between Daimler and Renault-Nissan to develop a new rear-drive platform as a hint of what lies ahead for the new Roadster.
All this, of course, is still a matter of conjecture. But we’re nonetheless excited to see some progress being made on the upcoming release of the next-generation Smart Roadster, which has been penciled in, by the way, for 2012.
Smart already used us with lots of special editions for their ForTwo model. And today is time for another one: the smart fortwo pearlgrey. As it name suggests the model is painted in an exclusive exclusive graphite metallic paintwork in combination with a silver tridion safety cell and silver alloy wheels. The model is priced at €14,490 ($20,500). The model will go on sale in November 2011.
The interior gets an exclusive leather package in crystal gray. This special leather is also being used on the top part of the instrument panel in black imitation leather with contrasting light gray seams, a knee pad in crystal gray imitation leather and door trims in a combination of crystal gray imitation leather and fabric.
The list of standard equipment will include: softouch automatic gear programme, electric windows, air conditioning with automatic temperature control and a transparent panoramic roof with sun-blind among other features.
Mercedes Italy has revealed a new special edition model based on the Smart ForTwo Cabrio. It’s called the Brabus Le Bleue and will be limited to only 60 units on the Italian market only.
The first thing that will distinguish the special edition is a plain dark blue metallic paint and special alloy wheels Brabus Monoblock VII 6-twin-spoke 16-inch front and 17 "rear. On the interior, the model will add a soft beige color, with contrasting leather seats and door trim with blue stitching and the Brabus logo. The list of standard equipment includes: navigation system with integrated multi-media touch screen display, CD / DVD player, iPod interface, USB and Bluetooth hands-free.
Like with all the other Brabus models, the new SmartForTwo Cabrio Le Bleue is powered by the same 102 hp engine that accelerates the car from 0 to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 96 mph, with fuel consumption and emissions of 5.2 l/100 km and 119 g / km of CO2.
We all know that Kobe Bryant takes helicopter rides to go to his home games and jumps over Aston Martins like nobody’s business. What we didn’t know is that he could also fight crime, armed only with a basketball and...a Smart car.
In a market that’s as huge and as basketball crazed as China, Smart played it perfectly by tapping into one of the most popular basketball players in the world to be the brand’s resident ambassador and crime-fighter.
The new ad aims to educate Smart owners and more importantly, would-be owners on the merits of driving a car as small, agile, and city-ready as the ForTwo. Heck, if a 6’6" basketball player with spider-like legs can take down a fleeing art criminal, who says that you wouldn’t be able to do it too.
Check out the video of the Black Mamba and the Smar ForTwo in crime-fighting action.