Mercedes-Benz S-Class v Smart Fortwo 001Smart has proven the integrity of its new Fortwo with a bold crash test between the new city car and a 2308kg Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Part of Daimler’s “Real-Life Safety” philosophy, the head-on smash at 31mph, with 50% overlap, was as challenging as it was dramatic-looking; Smart says tests like this far exceed legal requirements.

In the test, the Smart’s occupant space remained fully in tact and thus, reckons the firm, would offer the two passengers “excellent chances of survival”. This is despite the 1124kg Smart Fortwo weighing less than half what the tested S-Class did; the mass ratio was 1:2.1.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class v Smart Fortwo

More starkly, the kinetic energy of the Smart in the crash was 108kJ; the S-Class was 222kJ. That’s a lot of extra energy for the Smart’s tridion cell to absorb.

So, how did Smart do it? By making crumple zones as large as possible, said Professor Rodolfo Schoneburg, head of vehicle safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars, and sending forces through several load paths.

“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 has been carrying out such vehicle compatibility tests for years, ensuring the disadvantage of small and lightweight cars crashing into larger, heavier cars is minimised. It’s not just the small cars that are designed with this in mind, either: the firm also ensures its large car structures can best reduce the load for small cars in accidents.

“The S-Class therefore also greatly contributes to the good result in this car-to-car accident,” said Schoneburg.