With the launch of the smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé in April 2003 the segment of the compact and purist roadster is being revived, which has not existed in this form since the 50s and 60s of the last century. With an engine output of around 60 kW and a weight of around just 790 kilogrammes, at 13.2 kilogrammes per kilowatt (9.6 kg per bhp) the smart roadster and smart roadster-coupe offer a power/weight ratio which is low compared with that of its competitors and this has a positive effect on the handling.
The dynamic, agile two-seaters from smart offer a unique driving experience where the focus is not on the destination, but on the journey there. The combination of direct handling, excellent cornering ability and a remarkable degree of comfort make it possible to experience the vehicle dynamics more intensively than in almost any other compact vehicle of this class. The smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé are equipped with ESP (electronic stability program) as standard.
With a roof system consisting of a soft top and a hardtop which can be used together or alternatively, the smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé offer their owners maximum open-air driving pleasure. As well as a two-piece removable plastic hardtop that can be stowed and transported in the rear luggage compartment, an electrically operated folding soft top is available as an option for both the smart roadster and the smart roadster-coupé. This can be fully opened and closed even when driving at top speed - a unique function in the entire competitive environment.
The launch of the smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé next year is a first decisive step towards extending the smart product range and also the brand itself. smart is being extended from a single product brand to a multi-product brand so that the brand and the product are no longer identical. Nevertheless, the features typical to smart remain clearly visible in the smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé.
The size concept:
Compact and fun to drive
A size concept with the briefest dimensions and a low centre of gravity means that the smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé are not only extremely compact and fun to drive, they are also very comfortable and suitable for everyday use.
Thanks to a wheelbase of 2360 millimetres and a track width of 1357 millimetres at the front and 1392 millimetres at the rear, the roadster has the ideal prerequisites for markedly agile handling. The weight distribution to the front and rear axle is 44:56 percent.
The occupants' low seating position allows a total vehicle height of just 1192 millimetres. With a vehicle length of 3427 millimetres and a width of 1615 millimetres it was possible to realise two luggage compartments in the front end and the rear end. A capacity of 59 litres in the front and 86 or 189 litres respectively in the rear (smart roadster and smart roadster-coupé) provides sufficient stowage space for this type of vehicle.
Hard suitcases or clothes bags plus various small items can be stowed under the smart roadster's flat boot lid. The glazed rear section of the smart roadster-coupé extends the usable volume so that there is space for a suitcase, a clothes bag and a sports bag, for example. When the hardtop is taken off it can also be transported in the rear luggage compartment. The special made-to-measure luggage which is part of the smartware programme also makes optimal use of the space available.
The purist interior typical to sports cars is comparatively spacious. The feeling of space is given by strongly sloping side windows and windscreen.
The total spring travel of 125 millimetres at the front and 122 millimetres at the rear allows a high degree of ride comfort with exceptional agility - compared with the standard in this vehicle class. The axle load shift is very slight when accelerating and braking on account of the low centre of gravity, which only slightly restricts the usable spring travel.
As the passenger and vehicle centres of gravity are very low and close to each other, the driver feels the vehicle response very directly, i.e. without misleading lever force. This is why the roll angle is perceived as extremely slight when cornering.
Notchback and folding soft top as characteristic features
For the market launch in April 2003 the smart roadster will initially be offered with an approximately 60 kW SUPREX turbo engine with an engine capacity of 698 cm3 and torque of around 110 Newton metres. The engine does not only comply with exhaust gas standard EU 4, its extra power and torque also give the car driving dynamics appropriate to the smart roadster.
A basic version with less engine power will also be available in the foreseeable future at a net price of around 13,000 euro. Furthermore, smart-Brabus GmbH will offer an exclusive and extremely sporty variant of the smart roadster at a later time.
The smart roadster has the same sequential automated transmission as the smart city-coupé and smart cabrio - in a further optimised form. The sporty close-stepped ratios have been adjusted to the increased engine power and vehicle performance. In connection with this it was also possible to further optimise the gear-change sequence of the automatic transmission. A kick-down function greatly improves the driveability. The smart roadster is equipped with an automatic function as standard which is always activated once the engine has been started.
The smart roadster's TRIDION safety cell is available in black, or in silver for an extra charge. The bodypanels are available in the colours jack black, shine yellow and spice red. The colours champagne remix, star blue and glance grey are available for an extra charge. The interior of the smart roadster is available in the colours scribble black or scribble red, or in black leather for an extra charge. The smart roadster is available with a soft top or alternatively with a hardtop with a matt surface at no extra charge.
The tyres of the smart roadster have the dimensions 185/55 R 15 on the front and rear axle on spinline light-alloy rims. Trackline light-alloy rims with 205/50 R 15 tyres or spikeline light-alloy rims with 205/45 R 16 tyres are available for an extra charge.
The smart roadster is equipped with the electronic stability program ESP as standard. This enables selective intervention by the brake system to stabilise the car. In addition, ESP offers anti-stall assist and brake assist functions as well as cornering brake control - regulation of the braking pressure on specific wheels when braking in curves.