The Smart Roadster is classified as a 2-door sports car and was first introduced to the public in 2003 by Smart GmbH. Although it is true that sales of the Roadster met company expectations, a great number of warranty claims halted production of this vehicle in November of 2005 after a total of 43,091 roadsters were manufactured. The last roadster is now on display in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The 2-seat Smart City Coupe was launched in 1998 at the Paris Motor Show. This marked the start of a new car brand as well as a concept that was considered to be radical at the time, especially in Europe.
Although the City Coupe had an innovative design and garnered quite a bit of attention from consumers, it did have certain stability problems which were discovered just before it launched. A number of modifications were made to the coupe that ultimately sacrificed the vehicle’s overall handling and gear shift. There was public concerns over the coupe’s stability which had a significantly negative impact on the vehicle’s sales. This radical new design, while very popular, wasn’t entirely enough to distract consumers from the vehicle’s other shortcomings.
Jens Manske was the design director assigned to the Smart Roadster project in 1998, and it’s 14-strong design as well as an expert engineering team made future smart car innovations possible. It was decided that the powertrain this vehicle used was perfect for a small sports car with a compact turbo engine which drove the rear wheels through a sequential 6-speed gearbox. There was an extremely innovative approach with regards to the overall design of this vehicle and a concept for a super compact was eventually created. There were two small scale models used for the interior of this vehicle in February of 1999 with Volkier Leutz’s exterior and Christopher Machinek’s interiors proposals.
The Roadster Coupe was initially displayed to the public in 2000 at the Paris Motor Show and at this point it was already well on its way to a production version. This vehicle shared the same design of the Roadster from the doors and beyond, but features a glass targa roof as well as rear structure resembling a small shooting brake, similar to that of the BMW Z3 coupe as well as the Saab 9x concept car that was developed under Mauer at Saab just a few years prior.
Both the Smart Roadster as well as the Roadster Coupe were first introduced to the public in 2003 and were based on a stretched platform of the Fortwo with a total length of 3,427 mm. These two variants were meant to resemble that of the British roadster of yore, including the Triumph Spitfire and the MG B. The Roadster and the Coupe version are available with a removable Targa roof or an electrical soft top. The Roadster uses a 45 or 60 kW version of the turbocharged 698cc 3-cylinder Suprex engine in the rear.
A final variant of the Roadster was eventually revealed in March of 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show as a limited collector’s edition. This vehicle was based on the top model Brabus Xclusive which was capable of 100 horsepower in a satin brown metallic paint job. The interior of this vehicle features brown leather as well as a variety of other high quality materials which were used throughout. There was also a limited edition Roadster Coupe Racing edition of this vehicle, which was released in 2005 in the UK market. There were only a total of 50 of these limited edition vehicles ever produced and all of them features Brabus trimming as well as special black leather seats.