All smart generations from the factory in Hambach

In a previous article I already reported on the four generations of the electric smart: The four electric generations of the smart fortwo

These were based on the combustion engine series, which in turn was originally planned as a purely electric vehicle. Accordingly, it is a bit complicated to deal with the electric variants. Since I've already done this, I'm deliberately going to focus on the combustion engines that sold by far the best in the brand's first 20 years.

The original smart fortwo (450)

build from 1998 till 2006

The 450 series was the first smart ever. The smart fortwo was introduced in its production version in 1997 and then changed again due to the moose test so that it was wider. The first vehicles were delivered in 1998.

smart fortwo mit Erdgas-Antrieb / smart fortwo cng prototype

The 450 was available at market launch as a coupe and shortly afterwards as a convertible. It was only available with a combustion engine powered by either a petrol or diesel. The petrol engines were available with 33 to 55 kW, the diesel engines were available with 30 kW. The engines themselves were developed by Mercedes specifically for the smart and later adapted for the roadster.

Probably the most striking model of the 450 series is the smart Crossblade from 2002 and 2003. Without a roof, windshield and doors, it is probably the most impressive model of the classic smart series.

smart Crossblade

From day one, the 450 series was intended as a platform for fully electric fortwos. The rear axle with the battery and motor was mend to be replaced because fast charging was not yet possible. In 2007 there was a test fleet of 100 vehicles that were converted to electric drive. These would later be known as ED1. More about this in the dedicated wiki area: smart ED1 (fortwo)

The fact that the 450 series was intended to be electrical can only be seen on the speedometer of the production vehicle. There, the lamp for an empty tank is designed so that it can indicate both a gas pump and a charging station.

The 450 series was replaced by the 451 series. Absolute professionals also differentiate as follows:

  • C450 -> coupe
  • A450 -> convertible (German: Cabrio)

There is also a trilogy of articles on how the 450 series came to production:

Die Geschichte des smart - Wie aus dem 1969er TECC in den 90er MCC / smart wurde

The smart roadster (452)

build from 2003 till 2005

The 452 series was the first smart that wasn't a fortwo. Instead, the brand positioned itself with the Roadster as another model. It was only built for a short time, from 2003 to 2005. Then it fell victim to a restructuring of the brand, when smart decided to concentrate 100% on the fortwo.

The 452 was available as a classic roadster and as a coupe. It was powered exclusively by a petrol engine. This had between 45 and 74 kW and was based on the 450 engine block from Mercedes.

The smart Rouster Coupe BRABUS V6 Biturbo was also legendary. Here BRABUS had assembled two 450 engines together, making it a V6 with two turbochargers. Unfortunately, this vehicle was never sold, but it had 125 kW and managed the 0-100 km/h sprint in 5.8 seconds. Unfortunately, the last V6 Biturbo was made unroadworthy when smart BRABUS GmbH was dissolved in 2019.

smart Roadster V6 Biturbo

Absolute professionals also differentiate as follows:

  • R452 -> roadster
  • C452 -> roadster coupe

Unfortunately, the smart roadster was never available as electric drive, only from third parties via a conversion kit. Bodo Buschmann, the founder of BRABUS, apparently dreamed of being able to offer an electric version of the smart Roadster with Tesla as a cooperation partner in the 2000s. But that never happened. Instead there are only a handful of Tesla Roadsters with BRABUS refinement.

The original smart forfour (454)

build from 2004 till 2006

The 454 series was the first smart with more than two seats. Unfortunately there isn't much to say about the forfour, it was just average and nothing special. Like the smart Roadster, the forfour also fell victim to the restructuring of the brand. smart decided to concentrate 100% on the fortwo.

The first forfour hardly exists in the community, it was made in the Netherlands.

The 454 was only available in one version. It was available with petrol and diesel engines. The petrol engine had 47 to 130 kW and the diesel engine had 50 to 70 kW.

The diesel was a 3 cylinder, the petrol engine was 1.1L 3 cylinder, the 1.3L and 1.5L were 4 cylinder from Mitsubishi. The forfour had a lot in common with the Mitsubishi Colt from the Z30 series.


Unfortunately, the forfour was never available electric. But they were also working on an SUV variant of the forfour. The concept vehicle was called smart formore and the car behind it was almost fully developed before it fell victim to the same restructuring as the forfour itself. The platform then saw the light of day as the Mercedes GLA.

Since smart later build SUVs in the 2020s with the #1 & #3, the formore would probably have been the right step in the 2000s. More about the study: The smart formore - smart SUV from 2004

Der smart formore - smart SUV von 2004

Absolute professionals also specify as follows:

  • W454 -> wagon (forfour)

The second generation smart fortwo

build from 2007 till 2014

With the 451 series, the second generation smart fortwo came onto the market, replacing the 450 series. It was built from 2007 to 2014 and with it's end smart also build its last diesel engine.

The 451 was available as a coupe and convertible. It was equipped with petrol, diesel and electric drive. With petrol it had 45 to 75 kW, with diesel from 33-40 kW and with electric drive it had 30 to 60 kW.

The combustion engines came from Mitsubishi, the ED2's electric motor came from Tesla and the ED3's came from a joint venture between Mercedes and Bosch.

smart BRABUS electric drive

Like the 450 series, the 451 was designed to be fully electric. However, it did not immediately came with it. From 2009 to 2012 there was an electric version that Tesla developed. This could only be rented and is unfortunately no longer in circulation today. From 2012 to 2015, the third generation was built, which was the first freely available electric drive smart.

The 451 series was replaced by the 453 series. Absolute professionals also differentiate as follows:

  • C451 -> coupe
  • A451 -> convertible (German: Cabrio)

The two generations of electric drive each have their own area here in the wiki:

smart electric drive in Hambach

The final generation of the fortwo and forfour from Hambach (453)

build from 2014 till 2024

The 453 series brought the third generation smart fortwo and since it had a lot in common with the Twingo of the time through the cooperation with Renault, it also brought the second generation forfour. The 453 series replaced the 451(fortwo) and 454 (forfour) series. While the fortwo came from Hambach, the forfour was made in Slovenia.

It is controversial in the community because it is visually a hard break from the previous fortwo. But it has the smallest turning circle and the greatest comfort.

2020 Facelift

The 453 was available as a coupe, convertible and forfour. The idea was that fortwo and forfour have as many of the same parts as possible. So that development costs are lower and higher quantities of parts can be achieved. Ultimately, apart from the drivetrain, the fortwo and forfour have surprisingly few parts in common. Even parts that look the same are specific to the forfour or fortwo.

The fortwo and forfour were powered exclusively by petrol and electric drive, smart gave up diesel with the new model series and built the last diesel smart in 2014. The petrol engine came with 45 to 92 kW (fortwo) and 45 to 90 kW ( forfour), as an electric car it came with 60 kW (fortwo & forfour).

The engines in this series all came from Renault, both the electric motor and the combustion engines.

The 453 series was the last series from the classic smart era. Absolute professionals also differentiate as follows:

  • C453 -> coupe
  • A453 -> convertible (German: Cabrio)
  • W453 -> wagon (forfour)

While the 453 series was available with a gasoline engine from 2014 to 2019, it was built and sold with an electric drive from 2017 to 2024. This made smart the first conventional brand to have the entire model range purely electric. More about the ED4 in the dedicated wiki area: smart ED4 (fortwo & forfour)

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