Smart’s railcar Forfour handles likes it’s on rails because it is — and because its steering has been disconnected.
One of the great cliches in the motoring journalist’s arsenal is the classic “it handles like it is on rails”. But it’s blatant nonsense — trains aren’t known for their handling prowess, are they? But it seems that concept did not get through to Smart, which has decided to go one up on Mini’s appropriation of the equally nonsensical “go-kart handling” cliche and build a Forfour that handles like it is on rails because it is on rails. The Smart Forrail is essentially a Forfour converted to run on train tracks and is pretty much a promotional opportunity built around the concept of “let’s see if we can do it”, as there is no logical reason to try. Even the press release served up with the pics is vague and slightly bemused, but it did prove The Good Oil’s point about the pointlessness of the “handles like it is on rails” cliche — engineers disconnected the Forrail’s steering, enabling Smart to slip in this brilliant meta-cliche: “The agile steering, which in road use allows the Smart Forfour to handle as if it’s on rails, was disconnected by engineers to allow it to handle being driven on rails.”