As our current smart really starts to date itself, Mercedes dealers can rejoice in being able to sell a lower price point, odd lilliputian vehicle. Now the vehicle is based on the Renault Twingo. In Europe, there will even be one with four seats, but it is not destined for stateside consumption.
But smart has teamed with Harman for the electronics, and the brand gets the JBL moniker. This is the first time Harman has provided in-vehicle audio for smart. The new smart cars featuring the customized JBL sound system made their world debut Wednesday, July 16 in Berlin, Germany, with the first JBL-equipped vehicles expected on the roads later this year.
According to Harman:
The sound performance is as distinct and as individual as the smart itself, the JBL sound system brings an ultimate listening experience to this urban lifestyle vehicle. Designers and engineers at JBL and smart collaborated closely to create a customized audio system that would ensure optimal sound in the compact interior of the smart vehicle. For example, aware that space is at a premium in the smart, JBL and smart made the subwoofer removable to extend the trunk volume when drivers need to load extra baggage: a clever solution that is a perfect fit with the smart driving experience.
Besides, the rich premium JBL sound supports the illusion of driving in a spacious car, which is most relevant to smart. True to the idea of “JBL FOR more bassboom,” speakers in both models are placed to ensure drivers and passengers are “smart-surrounded” with sound.
The new smart fortwo has a six-channel DSP high-performance amplifier and eight speakers, including the removable subwoofer. The center loudspeaker is placed in the middle of the dashboard, and two tweeters to the left and right of the A-pillar ensure crystal-clear reproduction of upper frequencies. The low-midrange speakers are placed to the bottom of the driver and passenger doors, and two surround speakers at head height complete the surround sound experience. The smart forfour has an eight-channel DSP amplifier, plus an additional two pairs of high-frequency and low-midrange speakers, with the surround speakers positioned in the C-pillars.
Harman Lifestyle Division President Michael Mauser said, “We are delighted to bring JBL audio to the new smart, and to extend our collaboration with the Daimler Group. Our brand JBL has an excellent record as a maker of professional sound equipment for concert halls and other public venues in the music industry. JBL takes this experience and distils it into audio systems for in-car entertainment. Drivers of the new smart can look forward to a thrilling sound experience when they take their new car onto the roads.”
The new smart fortwo and smart forfour cars with the JBL audio system are scheduled for general release on November 2014.