A second of epic memory and a workout for the neck muscles - that was the experience of three generations of smart drivers when it came to the smart's automated manual transmission. This should now finally be over. The latest generation of smart will move to a new level when it comes to “can be switched”. Not right away, because the new smart and be French twin are initially only on the road with a manual five-speed transmission - but from March the Twinamic transmission will find its way into the small car at the Daimler subsidiary. The French come a little later, so the inventor of the “small smart car” was given such a small innovation lead.
Unhooked - smart very delicate
First ride in the new smart with dual-clutch transmission
To be the perfect city car. It is no less than this idea that is also behind the idea of the latest smart fortwo. And what does a city car have to be able to do? Park. Sounds contradicting itself, but that's how it is. And of course be agile. And it should be able to bustle around where other cars are condemned to stop for lack of breadth or clarity. And technically, the optimal city car can only be a car with an automatic transmission, right?
City traffic means stop & go, traffic jams and switching. Zapping through the gears is fun in a sporty car. Or on the racetrack in the latest V8 thunderbolt from Affalterbach. It's work in the city. The better to have this work done for you. The Japanese would choose a continuously variable automatic. The French are into the automated gearbox, the Americans use the automatic converter and the German? We like dual clutch transmissions. They promise the driving comfort of automatic converter machines in connection with the efficiency of an automated manual transmission without imitating the idiosyncratic driving comfort of continuously variable machines. Perfect. But developing a dual clutch transmission is expensive. Even though smart belongs to the Daimler group, they did not want to develop a dual clutch transmission for small cars on their own. You have one for the A-Class and the like, but for the vehicle class below? That didn't seem profitable. The smart technology partner Renault did not have such a transmission ready either. At the same time, however, it was clear that even if the French are turning the four-door smart into a Twingo, an automated manual transmission is not an option for the new smart. So the supplier Getrag was commissioned to develop an “automatic box”.
Let it switch - the right option
Smart presented the third generation in Barcelona, just like the “Ur-smart” 16 years ago. In addition to the 2.69 meter long two-seater and the four-seater, which stretches to just under 3.50 meters and is otherwise only in details from brother Twingo different, the different transmission versions were also available for a first test drive at the premiere in Barcelona. A good opportunity to get a first impression of the six-speed dual clutch box. The urban traffic of Barcelona is something of a prime example of the idea of the smart. A wild, lively traffic with absurdly short changes between rough manners and friendly gestures. From the left lane all the way to the right to turn or avoid a red traffic light phase? If you don't want to attract attention as a tourist, you should get used to such maneuvers. The best tool to quickly scurry across an intersection between two red phases, a moped, a bus and four taxis? Correct. A smart. Barcelona is one of those urban living spaces in which one can best master individual traffic with a moped or, to better protect oneself, in a smart. The fact that the suspension was so far only hard and not very warm and the circuitry annoyed with the famous “smart second” did not outweigh the advantages of the old smart fortwo. Agile. Clearly arranged and always narrow enough to slip through the gaps that you couldn't even see in other cars.
Six is better than five
The new smart can, if one refers only to his chassis, everything better than its predecessor. I have that in first article about the new smart already established. The fact that the basic version now comes with a manual five-speed gearbox is not really bad. Or is it?
If you drive the smart only in the city, you will not be upset about the transmission upgrade. Over land and on the highway, however, annoys the NEDC-compliant and less practical gradation of the translations, because simply too long. Above all, that robs the small naturally aspirated engine with 71 hp of any joie de vivre. From gear level 3 it gets tough. The 90 hp turbo gasoline engine can do all of this a little better. But is it really needed for the city? Whether the 90 PS Turbo is the right one is best read in Driving report to the smart in itself. Here we go back to the gearbox.
City car with manual transmission?
The city in particular is the natural habitat for an automatic box. And so there will be no way around the double clutch for smart new car buyers. Subject to surcharge, of course. But the six gears of the new gear box are much more consistent for everyday use than the five of the manual gearbox. Driving off with the new double clutch is also not comparable with the always somewhat rough behavior of the old smart. The new smart rolls smoothly from the traffic light and, unlike the old smart, the new one with its “twinamic” automatic gives it a real automatic feeling. Off the brakes and the new smart crawls. The old smart always wanted to do a “hop” when starting off.
For veteran smart drivers a lot is likely to change. The new smart no longer shakes the heads of the occupants every time they shift. The nod is passé. But also this quirkiness that has always accompanied you while driving a smart. As an elephant roller skate, those who had not understood the principle of the smart had mocked him.
The principle of quirkiness has given way to the principle of equal parts
Yes, the new smart can do a lot better than its predecessor. Thanks to the front axle with more than 50 ° steering angle, the smart has the smallest turning circle in its class. With the two-door, it feels like turning on the spot. Thanks to the rear engine, the smart is still an exceptional talent in space utilization and the sense of space. The new transmission concept gives the customer the choice: switch yourself and control the nodding or order the ideal gearbox variant for an extra charge? And of course it is only the cooperation with a partnerwhich makes the renewed attempt of the “smart city mobile” profitable.
Everything stays different - smart decision
The chassis with three centimeters more travel and the wider track is common to all smart variants. And the two-door remains as short as the generations before him. So it's really just the question of the transmission.
And this question is also in this article. The answer is surprisingly clear:
Those who decide on the new smart should wait for the dual-clutch transmission. A real city mobile is just awesome with automatic transmission. And the new gearbox does a good job. The smart loses a bit of its quirkiness, but you get used to it quickly, the head no longer in time with the switching operations rocking.
It has gotten rid of the smart with dual-clutch transmission, a new time of caresses breaks.
All photos: smart
If it's not enough for the new smart fortwo in 1: 1, then maybe for the model car?