2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio Drops its Top in Detroit

How to go topless during your urban commute.

Fans of the ultra-tiny Smart Fortwo city car now have the option to go topless during their urban commutes. The 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet made its global debut at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show, and Smart chose the 2016 Detroit auto show to reveal the Cabrio to U.S. buyers before the car goes on sale here this summer.

The cabriolet builds off the all-new, third-generation 2016 Smart Fortwo hatchback that was introduced to America at the New York auto show in March of 2015. Its convertible roof is a powered canvas affair, which can be raised or lowered in just 12 seconds by using buttons inside the car or from the remote key fob. While the 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet at first appears to essentially only have a large fabric sunroof, it really can turn into a full-blown convertible. Once the roof has been stowed, the side roof bars that connect the A- and B-pillars can be removed and stored inside the trunk for maximum wind-in-your-air enjoyment.

The fabric convertible top can be optioned in black, red, or a denim blue said to emulate the look of jeans. Its glass rear window is heated. With the roof in place, the 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio has the same silhouette and overall shape as the hatchback on which the droptop is based. Smart says the car's roof can withstand 500 runs through an automated car wash, and that its opening mechanism has been tested at temperatures ranging from 5 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

The convertible carries over its sole powertrain option from the hardtop. A rear-mounted, 0.9-liter turbocharged inline-three engine directs 89 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels by way of either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Top speed of the Cabrio is 96 mph and the 176-pound weight penalty adds around half a second to the 10.1-second 0-60 mph time of the manual-transmission hatchback. Fuel economy will likely drop by around 1 mpg compared to the 32/39 mpg (city/highway) EPA numbers for the manual coupe (34/39 for the dual-clutch coupe). Standard features on the Cabrio include Bluetooth, automatic climate control, LED running lights, and hill-start assist. Pricing and final fuel economy numbers will be released later this year.

The Smart Fortwo was first launched in Europe in 1998, originally carrying the City Coupe name. The original convertible version came along in 2000, called the City Cabrio. The second-generation Fortwo arrived in 2007 and Smart officially entered the U.S. market in January of 2008. Production of the present, third-generation Smart Fortwo hatchback began in 2014 and arrived in the USA in 2015.