Mercedes-Benz and Geely are two unlikely automotive parents, but their child, Smart, has turned out surprisingly well. There's a lot that could've gone wrong here, aesthetically speaking, but somehow these two brands have collaborated on a design for the Smart Concept #1 that is inoffensive and clean, and that manages to inject subdued stylistic flair without devolving into the look-what-I-can-do-with-CAD "style" that seems to get worse each automotive cycle.
"We have created a completely new design DNA that has the potential to establish Smart as the leading design brand," says Gorden Wagener, Daimler Group's Chief Design Officer. I don't know if I'd go that far, but I do like the gestural aspects of the car, the soft transitions and the way they've rendered the headlights and taillights into a distinctive design element. I also like that they reined in the final renderings vs. what the initial sketch looked like.
That being said, the interior is a bit on the gaudy side. Does anybody really want brightly reflective surfaces on the inside of a car, particularly one with a full glass canopy?
Amusingly, Smart is referring to this as an SUV, so perhaps they need more scale elements in the images. Unveiled at this week's IAA Mobility exhibition in Munich (formerly the Frankfurt Auto Show), the vehicle is reportedly "near-production," though no performance statistics nor price has been announced.