2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: Transmission reprogram
May 21, 2009
It's no surprise to anyone out there who's been following along with Edmunds' long-term Smart Fortwo Passion that we're not thrilled with the transmission. And by "we're not thrilled with" I mean "we avoid the smart at all costs because of."
Well, it seems we're not the only ones. Recently Smart has issued a transmission and engine software upgrade (Campaign C0209002) for '08 model year cars to make the car slightly less useless. 2009 MY Smarts already have it.
Along with the trans/engine reprogram, our Smart also needed a new VIN label, a new owner's manual, and it required open campaign C0209007--shifter lubrication so we don't need to have ours towed away.
The service was performed at Beverly Hills Mercedes and took about 3 hours.
Well the transmission is still pretty terrible, but it's finally stopped fighting against the brake pedal when stopped and they've programmed some creep into the system; it's now possible to parallel park the damn thing without fear of unintended over-acceleration.
The only other discernable change is the paddles. No, they haven't done the right thing and affixed them to the column (If a wheel has more than 360-degrees of rotation they should be fixed--and the wheel shouldn't have a flat spot!) the paddles now work when pressed, regardless of the position of the shifter. Previously you'd have to move the shift lever to the left to get some control over the gears. The new software lets you tap the paddle for instant results. Good idea, I guess. (
but now after tapping the paddles while in D, you have to slide the lever over to manual and then back to D to return to normal drive. Cars that do this correctly revert to drive when you up-paddle through the top gear, this is wrong and irritating.) EDIT: I completely forgot, until after posting of course, the OTHER way to disengage manual mode-- hold the upshift paddle for 2-3 seconds and the car switches from manual mode back to straight-up D. This technique does work in the Smart. Sorry for the confusion.
Midrange shifts are pretty much the same. They're slightly better--maybe-- nothing drastic. Full-throttle shifts are just as annoying, long and abrupt.
So it's free, you can park and it doesn't cause your braking leg undue stress. If you have an '08 Smart, it won't fix everything that's wrong with the Smart, but it's a solid attempt.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 16,754 miles