Smart plans to debut an electric-powered concept car at the Paris auto show this week that previews the styling of the Daimler subsidiary's next-generation models.
The two-seat ForStars concept uses the same rear-engine/rear-wheel-drive mechanical package as the For-Us pickup concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January. The ForStars also hints at what Smart describes as a new crossover coupe model that may be produced.
Power for the ForStars comes from the same plug-in electric system used on the recently introduced Smart ForTwo Brabus electric drive. It uses a brushless electric motor mounted at the rear producing 80 hp together with a lithium ion battery that can be charged via plug-in mains electricity and on the run via energy recuperated during periods of trailing throttle and braking. Drive is channeled to the rear wheels with top speed put at a theoretical 130kph (81 mph.)
The ForStars, named because its glass roof allows occupants to peer into the night sky, has similar styling to the For-Us.
The exterior, credited to a team of in-house designers working under Steffen Koehl, Mercedes-Benz's advanced design chief, retains the familiar two-tone, red-and-black theme that has been a signature of all Smart models since the launch of the original ForTwo in 1998.
The redesigned ForTwo and ForFour are expected to launch in Europe in 2014. They will be produced in cooperation with Renault, which will get its own versions.