Urban car company smart plans to equip its next-gen ForTwo with a removable tablet dashboard, insiders claim, with the upcoming city runabout offering a detachable display to offer navigation and other information on the move. Details of the tug-off tablet have not been revealed, with Auto Express' sources merely suggesting that the slate section will handle sat-nav and trip computer duties, though previous smart concepts have hinted that the company has more functionality in mind than a basic PND.
The smart forstars concept from September, for instance, featured smartphone support to remotely set air-conditioning levels, stream music and video over Bluetooth, and control overall playback through the outlandish car's dashboard-mounted projector system. Before that, the electric for-us concept used a docked smartphone in the dash to replace a traditional rear-view mirror, squirting the feed from a back-facing camera to the handset's display.
Whether features like those will make it into the new smart ForTwo, expected to hit roads in early 2014, is unclear. The report suggests some similarities with the detachable sat-nav system in the VW up!, which is in reality a simple dockable Navigon PND. VW did flirt with the idea of more comprehensive tablet integration with its 2011 Bulli microbus concept, that put a full-sized iPad in the center console.
smart already offers a touchscreen navigation system on the current-gen ForTwo, though it is not removable. A more impressive touch system would certainly fit with the general direction of the auto industry; currently Tesla probably leads the way with its expansive finger-friendly dashboard in the Model X, though regulators look set to clamp down on overly-distracting systems.
The new smart is expected to use a 64bhp, 900cc petrol two-cylinder engine, with an 87bhp electric model arriving at the end of 2014; a drop-top will also be offered. Meanwhile, a new four-door ForFour is also due in 2014, with a crossover - based roughly on the forstars concept - tipped for late 2015 and based on the underlying architecture of Nissan's next-gen Juke.