SMART AND MERCEDES-BENZ
Drop the top and let your hair down in the newest generation of Smart.
Summer is just around the corner and we’ve popped off the first round of festival season this year. Wrapping on weekend number two of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California, we’ve braved the heat of the desert and had our taste of the warm weather to come.
Now, back on the east coast, a lot of people are asking me, "How was Coachella?"
It was an incredible. It was my first time ever at the festival and it was an experience in itself. I danced the night away to a plethora of great performers — Sia, Calvin Harris, Disclosure, Major Lazer, Ice Cube and Snoop Dog, just to name a few. While I had the time of my life dancing the night away under the desert moon, I can’t help but reflect on my favorite part of the entire trip -- the road to Coachella.
Being the complete gear head and lover of horsepower that I am, I’m mainly always focused on the journey at hand, more than the actual destination (unless that destination is say, a race track). Needless to say, I set off for Indio from Santa Monica on Friday morning, equipped with an entirely new set of wheels that I’ve never gotten the privilege of handling before. Those wheels were the newest generation of the Smart ForTwo Cabrio. Not so fast. I’m sure you are thinking, “that tiny little thing, half the size of a Mini Cooper?” Yes, that’s the one, but it’s not the one you are so accustomed to seeing. The newest generation of Smart has seriously stepped it’s game up and the folks at Mercedes Benz (the parent company that produces Smart) really seem like they know what they are doing.
They’ve added four inches to the Smart making it an all around beefier car. With a 0.9-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine and your choice between a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a five-speed manual, you'll only be equipped with a maximum 89 horsepower. Don't know it until you've tried it -- I’ve driven some fast cars in my life and it’s utterly shocking how responsive the Smart is.
Most importantly, take note of the Smart’s tridion cell design. The car encompasses a honey comb shape (the strongest occurring shape in nature) which means it is acting as a completely protective cell around you in an event your car comes into impact with another object. Since Smart is produced by the fine German engineering of our friends at Mercedes Benz, they go through all the same crash test ratings as all of the MB vehicles we love.
This thing corners on a dime. With a 45 degree turning angle, it had no problem handling the twists and turns on the mountain passes of Highway 74 into Rancho Mirage. and if you’ve seen me driving, you know I’m not shy about hitting the gas through a corner.
Put aside the power, safety, and handling and we're tasked with the longest process of them all -- customization. With almost a never-ending number of trim combinations, Smart gives it's customers the opportunity to breathe personality into vehicles just as vibrant as their own.
While I’m really not one for blasting music in the car, the sound quality in the Smart is unlike any other, since it rides with an impeccable sound system supplied by JBL by Harman, the audio electronics brand that has been powering Coachella with it's commercial sound system. Slide the canvas roof back (in a mere 12 seconds), enable the full cabriolet feature and you're taken back by the fresh air experience. Combined, those two factors didn’t take a lot of convincing to have me blasting Ice Cube's, "It Was a Good Day" all the way to the festival.
While it’s not completely priced out in the United States quite yet, it’s starting in Europe at €15,655, which comes to about $17,570. For more information on how to pick up a Smart ForTwo Cabrio of your own, visit www.smartusa.com.