SMART Fortwo Tuning

"Thanks for reading my SMART Fortwo tuning tips."

The Fortwo is a good car modification project to do. We see car owners wasting money on their Fortwo doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our hints to avoid ruining your car

We examine Fortwo tuning and summarise the greatest upgrades. SMART Fortwos are fantastic to work on and with the optimum sports tuning mods you can increase your driving pleasure.


Tuning tips and articles

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


Turning our attention to the engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Spending justa little bit of money on the top engine and handling mods could transform your car into a very credible performer.

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.

Engine tuning mods.

This list of the stages and performance kits are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to go before you start.

Getting the correct grade of tuning upgrades for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

1st generation (series W450, 1998–2007)

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

2nd 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)

3rd 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

Stage 1 mods: Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Remap, Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Sports exhaust.

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

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

Peak power is all well and good but for a drivable and fun car you need a wide power band and perhaps extending the rev range.The whole aim of our tips 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 car tuning project, the best motorsport mods and all aspects of modding cars.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest power gains for your money as far as a stand alone uprated mods goes on a NASP engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. We'd also caution you not to go with a competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

Don't forget to uprate the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after uprated parts are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues.To get sufficient fuel you may need to improve the injectors on your engine.

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.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Air induction kits will only help to add power if your air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for Fortwo engines you should settle for a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts balance the flow of air through the engine. But if your exhaust is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of your flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Head work including a head port and polished 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 slip and this should be improved - read our article on clutches for more information. The best mods in our experience for your Fortwo are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Turbo engines are just pleading to be Reprogrammed. You will see large power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and large modifications for your money.Adding forced induction will see significant power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos. Turbos increase power in increasing proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are top of many to do lists for the Fortwo.

Setting a tiny bit of negative camber on the wheels and around 1 to 1.7 degrees of toe out, will greatly improve your Fortwo in handling and cornering.

We suggest that you fit modified suspension and lower the car by 30mm - 38 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels can help the brake cooling and are generally less heavy than the steel ones. Pay attention to your choice of tyres (tyres) for your car, a good track legal slick tyre 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.

Although some people have gone larger than this we would stick to a 15 inch rim size as the maximum.

There is a more updated version of this SMART Fortwo Tuning article on
For more information 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.

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