How It Gets More Power in a Hurry - 2008 Smart Fortwo Long-Term Road Test

2008 smart fortwo Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Smart Fortwo: How It Gets More Power in a Hurry

February 02, 2009

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Last December I mentioned how our 2008 Smart Fortwo upshifts on its own, even when you're in manual mode. But another thing I found out that it does is downshift when you stomp on the throttle looking for more power in a hurry. Sure, automatic transmission cars do this anyway but I don't think I've ever seen an automanual car do it in manual mode.

This weekend when I was trying to follow a friend who was driving a Lexus SUV to a restaurant via the freeway, they jumped on the on-ramp and just gunned it. Since I was in the Smart (um, hello!), there was no way I could catch up with them but at the same time I didn't want to get lost. So I stomped on the throttle while in 4th gear. Wait for me!

Suddenly it seemed like the Smart was trying to muster all the strength it had and I saw that it downshifted to 3rd gear. Its little engine roared and strained. I thought for sure once it hit redline it would upshift itself to 4th as it had before. But nope. So I upshifted. Eventually I caught up with my friend...but that was just because when they realized they lost me they slowed down and waited for me in the slow lane.

Apparently the Audi R8 does this, too, in manual mode but the Nissan GT-R and Mitsubishi Evo X don't. Not that I'm saying the Smart in the same league as those cars. Pshaw! Just thought it was interesting and wondered which other cars do the same thing.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 13,471 miles

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