The smectic properties of four series of dimer liquid crystals containing cholesteryl and biphenylyl groups were investigated by polarization microscopy, DSC and X-ray diffraction. Compounds that contain the strongly dipolar cyanobiphenylyl group exhibit a smectic layer spacing that is about 1.7 times the length of the molecule. Three series of alkoxybiphenylylcontaining dimers exhibit two other smectic modifications. For short spacers, a smectic layer spacing is observed that is about the same length as the molecule and for long spacers the smectic layer spacing is about half the length of the molecule. In the latter cases the entropy change at the SmA-N* transition is clearly larger than for the compounds with the other smectic modifications. One or two compounds in each alkoxybiphenylyl-containing series, that have similar spacer length and terminal group length and have an odd number of flexible units in the spacer, exhibit only a chiral nematic phase, and no smectic phase.