Smart Car Engine

A Glimpse Into Smart Car Performance &
Smart Car Technology

Interested in the smart car engine and smart car peformance and handling? You are going to be impressed by this piece of smart car technology...

Smart car 3-cylinder engine

The feisty engine of the smart car contains some pretty impressive smart car specifications). The smart car fortwo comes with an economical 3-cylinder, in-line engine that is rear-mounted underneath the accessible cargo floor. But it also has these features:

  • The engine powers the rear wheel drive of the smart car.

  • The engine is rated at 71 HP (horsepower) at 5800 RPMs (revolutions per minute).

  • The engine is just 61 cubic inches or 1 cubic liter in size, which makes it about 1/3 the size of a typical V-6 engine.

  • Its aluminum engine consists of 4 valves per cylinder with a net power of 52kW.

  • Net torque is 68 lb/ft at 4,500 RPMs.

  • An electronic limiter sets the maximum speed at 90 MPH.

  • Premium unleaded gas fuel is required.

How Does That Translate Into Smart Car Performance?

Smart car performance is zippy

Well, my experience with smart car performance has been stellar. The first thing we did after buying our smart passion coupe in Lindon, UT, near Salt Lake City, was drive it home... on the interstate.

I had done a test drive in Pittsburgh on the interstate, so I knew the smart fortwo car could hold its own at those speeds, but my wife Kathi had never even driven one before, so she was a bit nervous.

I had her drive it around the dealership complex for about 15 minutes and then she took it out on the road. No problem...

Salt Lake City is about a 5 hour or so drive from our home in the Boise area, all of it on interstate. On this trip, we had to drive through about 50 miles of construction, with high-speed single-lane driving as well. Much of the route is hilly as well. The smart car handled extremely well in all those situations. When passing (or being passed by) a large semi, you might feel a bit of suck and have to grab the steering wheel a bit tighter, but that's it.

The smart car engine had great acceleration (I took it up to 75MPH), when using the manual transmission, powered up hills just fine and was a roomy and comfortable ride. It maneuvers well and holds the road in all situations. The only thing missing for such a lengthy trip was cruise control, which is not currently an option on the America smart car.

Critics have complained about the sluggishness of the automated manual transmission (seems like a bit of an oxymoron, no?), which is valid. But I'm a stick lover, so I always just put the car into pure manual (clutch-less) mode and use the stick shift to change gears. The sluggishness pretty much disappears with that approach. Or you can use the paddle shifter levers on the steering wheel. That works well too.

Smart car in the snow

I love the smart's turning radius, which is really tight. I have parked in some incredibly small spots and never had trouble getting out of them. I've read that experts are disappointed with braking performance, but that hasn't been an issue for me in a year of smart car driving.

I've used the smart car extensively in around town and light urban situations, as well as country road and highway driving. In every situation, my smart car has performed admirably.

It's also important to mention that the rear-mounted smart car engine provides great traction in the snow, due to the extra weight being right on top of the rear axle. We had a bit of a snowy winter in Boise last year and I never had a problem with my daily commute, though I'm sure such a small car would struggle in deeper, wetter snows than we have around here.

But, in case you like numbers as much as I do (remember, I'm a math teacher!), here are some performance numbers for you:

  • Top speed is 90 MPH (electronically set)
  • Acceleration is 0 to 60 MPH in 12.8 seconds
  • Comes with a standard 2 year, 24,000 mile warranty

I know all this technical info on the smart car engine isn't going to be meaningful or necessary for every visitor to this site, but just in case you're interested in this kind of smart car information, I thought I'd include it here.

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Jim McCue picture

Welcome to the site! I'm Jim, and I'm here to guide you through a journey of smart car discovery. So, look around & drill down as much as you want to for all the smart fortwo details you're looking for. Read and interact! And feel free to contact me!

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