• Jul 23, 2010
The internets are abuzz with word that the recent partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Renault may allow the the long dead Smart Roadster to be revived. The folks at Autocar report that a source within Smart says the company has had its eyes on bringing the roadster back to market for awhile now. Evidently, the purveyor of pint-sized transportation is interested in branching out from its city car roots – something that the recent partnership with Renault just might facilitate. Renault has a host of experience producing inexpensive small cars that Smart just might be able to capitalize on.

Autocar doesn't say exactly which Renault model Smart would use as the basis for the reborn Roadster, but there is some indication that other products may be part of the company's plans as well. The article even made mention of a potential Mini Countryman competitor, meaning that Smart is eying jumping into the CUV fray. Either way, any new blood in the Smart portfolio is bound to help. With fuel prices down, American buyers aren't interested in making the kind of sacrifices that the ForTwo requires, but an ultra-compact convertible? That has some potential.

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now that is a smart that I would actually buy! That would be like a go cart with airbags and AC. Nice!
      • 4 Years Ago
      My mom of all people used to own a Smart Roadster. It would have been THE perfect fun car hadn't it been for the horrible transmission. Otherwise it was just awesome. It's not a sports car from a performance point of view, but unless you want to go on the race track, it's not a problem. Unlike real sports cars, the Smart roadster comes alive instantly and doesn't need high speeds to cause goosebumps. There's a direct connection between the street and your butt (they're only inches apart anyway), road holding and weight distribution were awesome.

      If it wasn't for the transmission, I'd be owning one right now. It was a very small transmission and the way it functioned had to be re-invented. Unfortunately, its design caused the transmission to shift slowly, and if that wasn't enough, the exact time it took the automatic transmission to shift could vary drastically due to the transmission-design.
      It really took a lot of getting used to and you needed to adjust your driving style in order to not get frustrated.

      Anyway, the original Smart Roadster with a decent transmission would be my favorite car (well, my favorite affordable car). Unfortunately, if Smart picks up some Renault design, I don't see as good an experience there...The point about the Smart roadster was that it was based on the Smart fortwo: Rear engined, rear wheel driven, extremely light weight.
      While Renault will have a proper transmission, they don't have anything that could come close to the original setup. And who wants a heavy, front engined, front wheel driven Smart roadster anyway?
      topgearfan92
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just build the old one with a proper manual and a bit more power and I'm in! It was such an awesome car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @topgearfan92
        I spent very happy 10 km in one - it doesn't need a manual. More priceselly, it doesn't need a stick as the tx was of automated mechanical variety.

        Flappies actually worked pretty well and anyway, the car was so light an turbo so effective that the acceleration was really good. I was doing 90 km/h before I knew it. It handled like a go-cart and since you sit centimeters above ground, the sensation of speed is unparalelled.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Unless it is a lot better than the old one, who cares.

      It did 0-60 in over 10 seconds, had the craptastic "smart" manumatic transmission and had a rated 37mpg (33 mpg observed by C&D).

      A first generation Miata was much better car. You can get a good used one for cheap.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thats the one thing I was going to comment on the manumatic transmission that is lauded in every review of the Smart car. If they give it a proper manual or hell even a proper automatic it will do great.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please, please, please!!! I don't care what stigmas a Smart has, I'd fork over the greenbacks for one!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think you and plenty others. There's loads of them in the UK running around. Suppose they're popular in their own demographic. Nothing wrong with that, loads people like something... different.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Please! Please! Please!" is right, right, right! I saw many of these in the UK and wanted to bring one home in my suitcase. If only it wasn't for the 50lb weight limit...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, this is the Smart that actually makes sense. Put a small diesel in it :-) and bring it on over to the US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ... because turbo whine, torque, and fuel economy make no sense. Twit.
        • 4 Years Ago
        you make no sense
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saw this car on the 101 freeway in Encino (California) yesterday. It was gray and black, and looked a lot like the Brabus edition. Maybe there is some truth to this rumor?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is the smartfortwo so expensive? Nissan makes a Versa (albeit with the smaller engine--still much larger than the smart) for sale at $10,000 or less. And Mercedes/Daimler can not turn a profit on the smart? Do the German workers put in 4 hour days for 8 hours of work?
      Does anyone remember the Fiat 500 and 600 which were sold briefly in the late 1960's? A friend of mine had the little 500 and it was a hoot to zip around town in. Admittedly, one had to row the transmission vigorously to keep the engine in its torque range, there was no air conditioning, and it had only 2 seats, but it was INEXPENSIVE.
      I believe there is a market for a "city car" but its price must be kept down--under $10,000. Maybe Mercedes/Daimler out to merge with Obvio of Brazil, which makes a similar sized car. Sadly, it, too, is way over priced..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Exactly. Use a real engine, and a real transmission. They release an aborted fetus Fortwo and nobody went for it. If Dodge can sell a Neon for $14'000 over a decade, I'm sure Mercedes can find a way to be profitable in the same range. It's almost like they use the loss incurred by smart as a tax write-off. Do they even try? They've got this in the garage and some moron decides, no, let's build something ugly instead. Just as impractical, but a little slower, less fun to drive, and probably even worse on gas, for no explainable reason whatsoever.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They better hurry up for Smartcar dealers are closing in groves countrywide!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would buy one of these in a heartbeat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It must be coming back. The car was heavily featured in a chase scene in the recent Tom Cruise movie "Night and Day." Kind of amusing seeing the bad guys buzz around in tiny Smart cars.
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