You would imagine a Smart car would lose badly in the event of crashing into a 2,308kg Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It has, after all, a severe weight disavantage and the crumple zone of a paper bag. But you would be wrong.
Such is Merc’s faith in the new 1,124kg fortwo supermini, it decided to drive both cars towards each other at a speed of 50kmh (31mph) in a 50 per cent overlap test parent company Daimler described as “David and Goliath”. That’s a combined speed of 62mph and a serious amount of force at work.
While the official video test has no bearing on the safety rating of either car, it demonstrates a surprising level of resilience on the part of the fortwo, much of which stems from the high-strength steel ‘Tridion Cell’ that sits around the driver and passenger.
It helps, too, that Merc has made the fortwo’s crumple zones as large as possible, creating a longer distance between the point of impact and those inside. Just the sort of distance needed to help deal with the S-Class kinetic energy of 222kj compared with the fortwo’s 108kj.
“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,” Mercedes-Benz vehicle safety head Professor Rodolfo Schoneburg commented.
The video is certainly interesting and does make you think of the Smart car as less of a death trap, but as YouTubers rightfully pointed out, the video is cut short after the initial impact with the S-Class. For all we know the fortwo was knocked into orbit for a couple of days.
There is also no mention of the force felt by the drivers and passengers in either car. Although the Tridion Cell seems to keep the all-important passenger compartment intact, how mangled – if at all – would the occupants be?
Keep on scrolling down to watch the Daimer video. Then check out the new fortwo and its forfour sibling.