SMART Fortwo Tuning

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The Fortwo is a awesome project car to try. With the right mods your Fortwo can be transformed into an awesome motor. Don't waste money, do your homework and follow our unbiased guides to each performance upgrade to avoid disappointment.

We review Fortwo tuning and point out the premier mods that work. SMART Fortwos are popular cars and with carefully picked modified upgrades you can maximise your driving opportunities.

First generation (series W450, 1998–2007)

  • 0.6–0.7 L M160 I3 turbo (petrol)
  • 0.8 L OM660 I3 turbo (diesel)

Second generation (series W451, 2007–2014)

  • 0.8 L diesel (turbo) I3 (OM660)
  • 1.0 L petrol I3 (3B20)
  • 1.0 L petrol (turbo) I3 (3B20T)

Third generation (series C453, A453, 2014–present) (2014-2019: North America)

  • 0.9 L M281 turbo I3
  • 1.0 L M281 petrol I3
  • 66 kW synchronous electric motor

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

 

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Fortwo owners uprate the handling of their cars with tuning suspension parts as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

We found that most Fortwo factory suspension setups need tweaking, a few degrees of toe out for cornering or toe in for stability, 0.9 to 1.5, and a little negative camber will often enhance your cornering and handling.

We would go to a maximum drop of 30mm - 35 mm. on most models. You risk grounding out if you go lower than this.

Top end power should be your overall aim with a nice fat wide peak torque band.

Following our tips for modding your Fortwo you will make a practical but scorching car that will potentially out perform bigger cars.

Sadly with smaller engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Power mods.

The following uprated modifications are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you begin.

Getting the right tuning mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap, Alloy wheels, Suspension upgrade (drop 30mm - 35 mm.).

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Power/Sport clutch, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injector, fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox, Engine balancing.

Peak power is all well and good but for a drivable and fun car you need a long power band and perhaps extending the rev range.

The whole point of our guides is to give a little insight into the world of tuning upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is where you can ask for more detailed advice and tips on your customized car project, the best uprated kits and all aspects of modding cars.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest bhp gains for your money as far as a bolt on tuning mods goes on a NASP engine.

The exhaust & intake valve timings play a huge role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car difficult to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU for the best performance gains.

When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

If you find you suffer from flat spots and power surges after your performance parts you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Increasing the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

If you are increasing your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Please note that WE DO NOT FEEL YOU GET POWER GAINS FROM INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car massively and are finding that the standard air intake has become limited.

Derestricting the airflow into the engine is a primary goal of performance tuning so get a freer flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound fun but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and more often than not rob you of power on most cars.

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can find this will slow the exhaust rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1 to 1.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Head work including a polish and port and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. In nearly all cases of Fortwo tuning your clutch will start to complain and this needs an upgrade - read our guide on clutches for more information. The best mods we would do for your Fortwo are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Remaps offer big power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NASP engines the benefits are doubtful. However a chipped ECU on a NASP engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

We've also seen some tuners toying with twincharging applications and making some impressively high power gains.

Adding forced induction will see massive power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Superchargers are often easier to add than a turbo. Turbos provide boost in exponential proportion to increasing engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

Superchargers, however will give a boost which is directly proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. Alternatively you could add water injection to reduce the risk of knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

As alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Pay attention to your choice of tyres (tires) for your car, a good soft compound tire can really enhance your cars handling. Large Fortwo alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

With this in mind we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 15 inches, although we know some of our members have with bigger wheels with no problems.

The Brabus 16 or 17 inch wheels look great but don't actually improve the handling in our opinion.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Fortwo options in more detail with our Fortwo owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased SMART tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

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