The new Fortwo Cabriolet is said to be the most affordable convertible on the market

Smart took the automotive world by surprise when it unveiled the ForTwo Cabrio at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show. A year later, the Germans launched the smallest production cabriolet, taking the micro car industry into a new era. It’s been 15 years since then and Smart has revealed the third-generation ForTwo Cabrio, which is set to break cover officially at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Based on the third-gen 2015 Smart ForTwo we already saw in 2014, the ForTwo Cabrio has been redesigned from the ground up. The styling is all-new inside and out, the chassis has been rebuilt for greater comfort, while the drivetrains are both more powerful and fuel-efficient.

"Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for", said Dr. Annette Winkler, head of the Smart brand. "I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon."

The micro convertible will arrive on U.S. soil in the first half of 2016, a few months after it goes on sale in Europe. By the time it hits showrooms on this side of the Atlantic, it will join the ForTwo coupe, set to reach U.S. soil at the end of September 2015, and the 2015 Smart Fortwo Brabus Tailor Made program the brand announced earlier this year.

Update 06-29-2016: Mercedes has announced pricing for the 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio. Check out the prices section below for details.

Continue reading to learn more about Smart ForTwo Cabrio.

Exterior

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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Essentially a sliding-roof version of the redesigned Smart ForTwo the company launched in Europe in 2014, the ForTwo Cabriolet employs the same styling cues as its tintop sibling. Though it remains recognizable as a Smart, it rides on a slightly longer wheelbase and a wider track and features redesigned fascias and more muscular bumpers.

Though it remains recognizable as a Smart, it rides on a slightly longer wheelbase and a wider track and features redesigned fascias and more muscular bumpers.

The front grille is now larger and positioned higher toward the hood, while the headlamps received a rhombic shape. The dual taillight units seen on the previous generation model have been replaced by larger squares with the signals and the reverse lights mounted in the middle, while the roof seems to sit a bit lower.

Speaking of the roof, this is where the Cabriolet stands out. The B-pillars are slightly narrower versus the coupe, while the roof is a retractable, sliding soft-top with three positions. When not fully closed, the top can be partially opened for a sunroof-like experience or fully lowered. Smart says the new cloth roof is four percent larger than the previous model and that it takes 12 seconds to fold it down completely. However, this doesn’t include removing the roof cross beams and stowing them in the trunk.

Moving on to add-ons that are less visible, the Fortwo cabrio is fitted with a large, steel underbody brace and two bulkheads intended to increase torsional stiffness. As a result, the structure is 15 percent stiffer in terms of torsional rigidity than the previous model. The new car also has a hot-formed steel tube inside each A-pillar for additional rollover protection.

Like the previous model, the ForTwo Cabrio comes in a two-tone finish with plenty of combinations to choose from. Moreover, Smart offers numerous wheel design options and three colors for the fabric top (blue denim, red or black), enabling customers access to various exterior configurations.

Interior

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet Interior
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The Cabrio’s interior is identical to the coupe’s meaning it carries the brand’s new sculptural approach for the dashboard and the door panels, as well as the two-tone dashboard and larger center console. Along with the new design comes a revised instrument cluster, a new infotainment screen that seemingly hovers in front of the dash, bolstered seats, and spherical air vents. The three-spoke steering wheel can be optionally equipped with radio and navigation controls, while the high-quality textile surfaces on the dashboard and the door panels can be ordered in many colors, adding to the ForTwo’s customizing potential.

Of course, this new and lively interior comes with the infinite headroom convertibles benefit from when the top is folded flat behind the seats. The fabric top can be removed when driving or from outside the car by remote control using a button on the key.

Drivetrain

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Just like the coupe, the cabrio will initially be available with two three-cylinder gasoline engines. The least powerful unit displaces one liter and cranks out 71 horsepower and 67 pound-feet of torque from as low as 1,000 rpm. With this engine, the ForTwo needs 14.9 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start and reaches a 94-mph top speed.

Both engines can be coupled with either a five-speed manual transmission or a fully automatic dual-clutch transmission.

The range-topping mill is a turbocharged, 0.9-liter three-pot rated at 90 horses and 99 pound-feet of twist. It adds 7 horses and 10 pound-feet over the previous turbo 1.0-liter and pushes the cabriolet to 62 mph from a standstill in 10.8 seconds. Top speed sits at 96 mph.

Both engines can be coupled with either a five-speed manual transmission or a fully automatic dual-clutch transmission. The five-speed manual gearbox is available for the first time in the ForTwo, while the dual-clutch replaces the dated five-speed semi-automatic.

Although the ForTwo Cabrio won’t get you anywhere in a hurry, the tiny convertible is quite efficient thanks to its automatic start/stop system, variable swirl control, and variable adjustment of the inlet valves. Though official estimates aren’t yet available, the drop-top should return the same figures as the coupe, which is rated at up to 33 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.

Besides the two engines available right from the start, the ForTwo Cabrio will also get an entry-level 1.0-liter, three-banger developing 60 horsepower. This new base unit replaces the previous 0.8-liter diesel (offered only in Europe) rated at 53 horses.

Prices

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For the 2017 model year, the Smart Fortwo Cabrio will start out at $18,900 which, according to Mercedes, makes it the most affordable convertible on the market. That entry-level price represents an increase of $970 over the 2015 Cabriolet’s base MSRP. The Fortwo Cabrio is also offered with a twinamic dual-clutch automatic transmission and, when so equipped, will command $19,890 before taxes, options and a $750 destination fee.

Suspension

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The new Smart ForTwo also benefits from a reconfigured chassis, which includes a new McPherson suspension system with a triple-path head bearing for the front axle and a De-Dion rear axle. A sports suspension package for a sportier experience behind the wheels is available as an option. The bundle adds firmer springs and lowers the vehicle’s ride height by 0.4 inches.

Safety

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Vehicles coming from Daimler are always known to include state-of-the-art safety features, and the ForTwo Cabrio is no exception. Besides the large underbody brace, bulkheads, and hot-formed steel tubes inside the A-pillars, the city car is also equipped with Smart’s already traditional tridion safety cell, which enabled the ForTwo to pass Mercedes’ roof-drop test, during which the vehicle falls at a slight angle from a height of 20 inches onto the roof structure. Additional safety electronics include the brand’s latest-generation ESP with standard Crosswind Assist and hill start assist, and optional forward collision warning and Lane Keeping Assist.

Competition

2015 Fiat 500C

2015 Fiat 500 1957 Edition Cabrio High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Perhaps the only car that can compete with the Smart Fortwo in terms of its size and offering a convertible is the open-top Fiat 500C. Like the Fortwo Cabriolet, the 500C uses a folding cloth top rather than a more conventional fully retracting soft top. The Fiat 500 does hold a few advantages over the Fortwo, including its larger size with a pair of rear seats, more engine options (such as the performance-oriented Abarth) and better highway fuel economy, rated at 40 mpg.

Read our full review of the 2015 Fiat 500C here.

2015 Scion iQ

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Although it is not available as a convertible, the Scion iQ is the only other alternative buyers have when it comes to tiny, two-door city cars. Before its redesign, the Fortwo always looked much smaller than the iQ due to its narrow width, but now that it has gotten almost four inches wider than the current model, the next-gen Fortwo actually looks more like the Scion. The 2015 Scion iQ starts at $16,435 (including destination), and while that pricing is identical to the 2014 model year, it is still quite a bit more ($1,200) than a base 2015 Fortwo.

Read our full review of the 2015 Scion iQ here.

Conclusion

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While the Smart Fortwo Cabriolet is hardly the convertible that enthusiasts will flock to, it does provide some of the highest fuel economy numbers of any non-hybrid and non-diesel car. Sure, the new ForTwo Cabrio isn’t that much more powerful or faster than its predecessor, but it is brilliant at squeezing in the most tight parking places and through the city’s narrowest streets. In all, the new model seems to be a vastly improved product overall that provides greater comfort and improved handling charactericts, two features the previous model was heavily criticized for.

  • Leave it
    • Still a goofy-looking car
    • Room for only two passengers

Spy Shots

May 22, 2015 - Smart Cabrio caught camouflage free

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet Exterior Spyshots
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Update History

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Press Release

The countdown has started for the new fortwo cabrio, a particularly iconic variant of the new model series. The open-top two-seater will have its world premiere in September at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The new smart cabrio will be available for ordering from mid-November and the first models will reach dealers in February 2016.
Three cars in one: at the touch of a button the new smart cabrio is transformed from a closed two-seater into a car with a large sliding canvas sunroof, or a fully fledged cabriolet with the soft top completely open. This enables the fresh air driving experience to be adapted to the weather or the driver’s mood. This flexibility offered by the "tritop" folding soft top and the removable roof bars is a special feature – and not just in this segment. At the same time, the new smart cabrio is the only true cabriolet in its vehicle class.
"Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for", says Dr Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon."
The new smart cabrio (length/width/height: 2.69/1.66/1.55 m) is clearly recognisable as a member of the new smart generation. The third model also embodies the smart design philosophy of FUN.ctional design, defined by two poles - the heart and mind. The design idiom is clear, purist and very progressive. This includes the typical silhouette with ultra-short overhangs, the clear lines, shapes and surfaces and, of course, the tridion safety cell. With the grille in a fading honeycomb design and the rhombic headlamps, the face is unmistakably smart. The B-pillar is narrower than on the closed variant and the styling of the tridion safety cell is more progressive, giving the smart fortwo cabrio an even sportier and more forward-focused look.
Prospective customers can choose between three different colours for the "tritop" fabric soft top: blue denim (jeans look), red or black. The headlining is always grey. The removable roof bars that can be stowed in a compartment in the tailgate come in the tridion colour.
Soft top: opens within twelve seconds
When the sun peeps out from behind the clouds, smart fortwo cabrio drivers can react quickly: the fabric soft top can be opened fully automatically in twelve seconds – even when driving at top speed. With the 3-button key the soft top can also be opened from outside the car by remote control.
Removing the side roof bars enables a full-blown cabrio experience. The roof bars can be stowed on the inside of the tailgate. This stowage compartment in the tailgate also offers additional stowage space for small items, for example fluorescent jacket, first-aid kit or warning triangle.
With an area of 1.8 m2 the "tritop" fabric soft top is approximately four percent larger than its predecessor. The outer covering is made of a particularly lightfast polyacrylic fabric and the inside features a polyester/cotton mix. There is a rubber layer in the middle. The soft top has a total thickness of 20 mm. The rear windscreen is heated and is made of glass.
Safety: occupant protection space validated in roof-drop test
The new smart fortwo cabrio is the most rigid smart cabrio ever. The torsional strength has been improved by around 15 percent compared with the predecessor. The material mix comprises a high proportion of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steels.
In addition, the cabrio has been specifically reinforced in decisive places in comparison to the coupé. The modifications include a large steel cross under the vehicle, two torsional bulkheads under the vehicle at the front and rear and an inner tube in the A-pillars made of high strength hot-formed steel.

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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As well as meeting the requirements of mandatory crash tests, the new smart fortwo cabrio – with a safety concept that includes the tridion safety cell typical of the brand for efficient energy absorption – also passes additional Mercedes-Benz crash tests that often have much stricter requirements. This includes the "roof-drop" test. Here the body falls at a slight angle from a height of 50 centimetres onto the roof structure and the vehicle hits one of the two A-pillars.
Advanced assistance systems which were previously the reserve of higher classes of vehicle help to prevent accidents. These include the latest-generation ESP® with Crosswind Assist and hill start assist (standard), forward collision warning (option) and Lane Keeping Assist (option).
Model versions: two engines, two transmissions, three lines
The new cabrio will initially be available with two state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines rated at 52 kW/71 hp and 66 kW/90 hp. Both engines can be combined with the five-speed manual transmission or the fully automatic twinamic dual clutch transmission. Needless to say, the smart fortwo cabrio has the agility typical of the brand – at 6.95 m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30 m (from wall to wall) turning manoeuvres are extremely simple.
In addition to the three lines passion, prime and proxy, customers can choose from a large range of safety and comfort features – including the new features added in the latest facelift such as smartphone integration with MirrorLink® (standard in combination with the smart Media-System) or the Urban Style package (including black wheel arch linings and lowering kit). The high-quality and charming interior of the smart fortwo cabrio corresponds to that of the closed variant with standard features including two sun visors with make-up mirrors, a centre console with drawer and coat hooks at the rear on the crossbar. A wind deflector is optionally available. The interior styling is sure to delight and is characterised by a "dynamic loop" as a signature feature throughout the interior - emotional sweeping lines which feature on the dashboard and doors, for example.

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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Endurance testing: extensive testing in laboratories and on the road
The testing programme for open-top vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Cars is extensive – and identical for all models: The new smart fortwo cabrio was therefore subjected to the same rigorous tests as, for example, the S-Class Cabriolet from Mercedes-Benz. For example, in an endurance test the opening and closing of the soft top was simulated over the whole vehicle life cycle. As well as this component test, which comprises 20,000 cycles, the soft top and the soft top mechanism must also prove themselves in the climatic chamber. Because perfect functioning must also be ensured at temperatures between –15 and +80 degrees centigrade. In addition, an "abuse test" is performed at – 40 degrees centigrade with a completely iced roof: in this case overload protection protects the motor of the soft top drive.
The car wash test ensures that smart cabrio passengers always stay dry. At 500 cycles, the requirements correspond to those for the coupé. In addition to this testing in the development phase, every single smart cabrio is also tested for leak-proofness: at the end of the production at the Hambach plant every vehicle is sprinkled with a standardised amount of water for seven minutes.
The developers tested the maintenance of a draught-free interior in the Mercedes-Benz wind tunnel with the help of the dummy "Tanja". She is fitted with a total of 16 speed sensors on her neck and arms which allow the flow speeds of the wind in the interior to be measured.
In addition, there is extensive overall vehicle testing on testing grounds and roads of different quality around the world.
smart cabrio: a car with cult character for 15 years
At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 1999 smart surprised the world public with a number of new model studies. A cabrio version was presented that was based on the smart city-coupé. This model opened a whole new dimension to the "closed" micro car community by opening up the roof. The smart cabrio offers pure joie de vivre. From the spring of 2000 the world’s smallest production cabriolet rolled off the production line and onto European roads. Since the first model change in 2006 the soft top has been fully automatic. For the third generation available from 2010 new soft top colours in red and blue expanded the range of colours.
But this is not the only model in the history of smart to offer a fresh air driving experience. A special vehicle variant that was launched on the market in 2002 offered a true open sky feeling: the smart crossblade. It had no doors, no roof and no windscreen. Its drivers were able drive through the countryside under open skies with the wind in their face for an incomparable driving experience. A narrow, tinted wind deflector was all that was stretched across the cockpit area to reduce the headwind. A year later smart decided to introduce a small series of the vehicle onto the market.

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