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Geneva show: Nip-tuck for Smart ForTwo

Nose job: The facelifted Smart ForTwo has a new frontal design, including a revised grille and a larger logo to reflect the brand's "new self-confidence".

Cosmetic surgery for ageing ForTwo as Daimler-owned Smart prepares for Geneva

Smart logo2 Feb 2012

MICRO-CAR manufacturer Smart has issued official images and information about its updated ForTwo range ahead of an official world debut at the Geneva show in March and European roll-out in April.

The refreshed ForTwo is due to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of this year, with few planned changes to the existing Australian line-up that comprises coupe and soft-top cabrio body styles available with a choice of naturally-aspirated or turbocharged petrol engines.

Externally the facelift comes as no surprise to those who saw the third-generation Smart Electric Drive unveiled at Frankfurt last September, which previewed the new look.

Leading the changes is a larger grille with painted raised edges and prominent Smart logo in the centre, which Smart CEO Annette Winkler said “stands for the brand's new self-confidence”.

Beneath are redesigned horizontal LED daytime running lights – an option not shown in the supplied images but previewed on the Electric Drive – set within a sportier one-piece lower air intake that is complemented by “muscular” new side skirts and more assertive-looking rear bumper.

37 center imageLeft: ForTwo interior. Below: Smart 'for-us' and Forvision.

Rounding off the external changes is a new matte anthracite paint finish plus three new alloy wheel styles and a trio of colours for the cabrio model’s soft top.

Inside, new trim combinations are available, with a new ‘crystal grey’ theme comprising leather and fabric for the seats, with synthetic leather coverings for the door trims and dashboard top.

The flagship Brabus Xclusive variant, which like the standard Brabus is not available in Australia and boosts power of the 999cc engine to 75kW, becomes available in white for the first time, with the number of soft-top colour options on both Brabus versions increased to six.

Of the five (unchanged) drivetrain variations available overseas, Australia gets the 52kW/92Nm and 62kW/120Nm 999cc petrol engines.

Others not sold here include the 40kW/130Nm 799cc diesel, a 45kW/89Nm micro-hybrid and the 55kW/130Nm Electric Drive.

All but the 62kW petrol turbo and Brabus variants emit less than 100 grams per kilometre of CO2 and all internal combustion Smart variants drive the rear wheels through a five-speed semi-automatic transmission.

As GoAuto has reported, the Daimler-owned brand is planning a “five-figure” production run of its third-generation Electric Drive, compared with around 2000 second-generation cars built since 2009.

The increased production could open the door to an Australian release, especially as its power output and performance eclipses that of the previous model, while range from the new 17.6kWh battery is boosted from 115km to a claimed 140km.

This is likely to be the final revision to the ForTwo, which last received a nip and tuck in mid-2010, before next year’s expected arrival of an all-new version built on underpinnings shared with Daimler’s technology partner Renault.

The brand has displayed a series of quirky concepts at the major motor shows over the past year, most recently the ‘for-us’ ute at Detrioit.

However the technology-packed Forvision that took to the Frankfurt show stand last year provided the most tantalising preview yet of what to expect from the next-generation ForTwo.

236 Smart cars were sold in Australia during 2011, down 17.8 per cent compared with the previous year.

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