Three-seat Smart coming soon?

Recent patent filings by Mercedes-Benz indicate that a three-seater Smart may be in the works.

And you thought the ForTwo was cramped...
(Credit: Mercedes-Benz)

Recent patent filings by Mercedes-Benz indicate that a three-seater Smart may be in the works.

Obviously drawing inspiration from the McLaren F1 supercar, the rumoured Smart will feature a 1+2 layout with a centrally positioned driver's seat flanked by two passenger seats mounted slightly behind. To facilitate easy entrance and egress, the driver's seat looks like it should be able to rotate slightly and slide on rails toward the door. Also depicted in the patent drawings is a trick fold-flat pedal, which should clear the footwell when seats start sliding.

The patent makes no mention of the three-seater's drivetrain, but speculation seems to point to one of Mercedes' upcoming three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for small vehicle applications, and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which is still under development.

According to Autocar, nothing's official yet, but the "ForThree" could be on sale by 2014 as part of an expansion of Smart's one-model line-up — currently the only Smart available is the tiny, two-seat ForTwo.

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