Are they completely mad!?
Just a year after the presentation at Geneva motor show as an eye-catching concept, Smart are to put the barking mad Crossblade into production. A maximum of 2,000 will be produced in the next few years, and they will be numbered consecutively in order to 'emphasise their exclusiveness'.
Commenting on the project Andreas Renschler, chairman of the management board at MCC Smart, said "The fact that we have developed the Smart crossblade within a year is further proof of the potential of our vehicle concept and at the same time it is a further step towards extending our product range."
The mind boggles as to what else they have in mind...
The Crossblade is equipped with the SUPREX turbo engine as used in the city-coupé and Smart cabrio with a power output which has been electronically increased to 70bhp. The top speed is electronically limited to 83mph.
According to Philipp Schiemer, Marketing & Sales director at MCC Smart: "The Smart crossblade targets an exclusive clientele who attach great importance to personal freedom and independence." He goes on to boast, "No other manufacturer of production cars has a comparable competitor to the Smart crossblade" - he's not wrong there!
Flies in your teeth?
The unconventional car has neither a roof, doors, nor a conventional windscreen. Crossblade drivers sit under the open sky, and a narrow, transparent wind deflector is all that stands in front of the cockpit area. The safety cell, which is reinforced with numerous high-strength panels, has sturdy steel safety bars at the sides instead of doors.
In addition to reinforcements in the floor, and A and B-pillars, the integrated roll bar also gives the car the desired flexural strength and torsional rigidity. This means that the Crossblade has almost the same demanding safety engineering as the Cabrio and the City-Coupé. In addition to this the sporty two-seater is equipped with the restraint system familiar from these cars, which includes full-size airbags for driver and passenger in addition to belt tensioners and belt-force limiters.
The safety cell is clad with matt titanium plastic parts in the area of the roll bar, the B-pillar and the door sills. The body panels are presented in gleaming jet black. The instrument panel and seat covers made of water-repellent, fire-red plastic are distinctive features in the interior. The steering wheel and gearshift knob are finished in black leather.
Motorbike on four wheels
Dr. Helmut Wawra, Development & Design director at MCC Smart says that: "The Smart crossblade deliberately does without all protections against wind and weather. This car with its reduction to essentials focuses on blue skies and high spirits. It’s like a motorcycle on four wheels."
The Smart crossblade will be available in the UK from July 2002 and can be ordered from Smart Centres from March. Expect Smart branded Sou'westers to follow...