“You could even close the door after a 50 kilometer per hour [30 mile per hour] crash,” says a video appearing on The Telegraph that demonstrates a 50% overlap crash test between a Mercedes S-Class and a new Smart car design. Smart, which is about to introduce its new Fortwo and Forfour minicabs, made the video of the test crash to demonstrate how safe the new Smart cars are, writes Chris Bruce for Autoblog. (You can see the video at the end of this post.)
The video shows that the very small cars can survive a head-on crash with a car weighing more than twice as much, Bruce writes. “For such a tiny car, the crashworthiness of the Smarts is a legitimate concern when taking on larger, heavier vehicles,” he writes. The new Fortwo and Forfour models have a substructure of ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel, and maximum strength multiphase steel, plus large crumple zones, Bruce writes.
A Daimler press release says that some of the Smart’s high safety standards “far exceed” legal requirements. Mercedes-Benz has spent years testing how different-size cars fare in car-to-car crash tests. In such tests, small and lightweight vehicles are usually at a disadvantage. Because of this, the carmaker generally designs large vehicles so that their body structure will reduce the impact on small vehicles they might collide with, but without reducing the protection for people in the large car, the press release says. “The S-Class therefore also greatly contributes to the good result in this car-to-car accident,” Daimler writes.
In the press release, Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of Vehicle Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars, explains some of the technology in the Fortwo and Forfour models:
‘The high proportion of ultra-high-strength steels ensures high stability for the passenger cell. In addition, the further developed airbags and seat belts offer maximum occupant protection, for example with a knee airbag for the driver as a standard feature.’
Here is Daimler’s comparison of the two vehicles in the test crash video:
In addition to the rigid tridion cell that protects the passengers, the automaker has added to the new Smart cars advanced assistance systems that previously were only available in luxury cars, according to another Daimler press release. The Fortwo and Forfour will have Crosswind Assist as a standard feature, and buyers can opt for Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keeping Assist as well. The new Smart generation will be launched in Europe in November.
Here is the video of the crash test: