2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: the hot hatch for India?

    The 140hp, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol Swift Sport does 0 to 100kph in just 8 seconds! We compare it on paper against the older Swift Sport and India-spec Baleno RS.

    Published On May 26, 2018 07:00:00 AM


    The latest-gen Suzuki Swift Sport has now arrived even in developing markets around the world. As part of its introduction in these markets, Suzuki has revealed an exciting aspect of its capabilities – its 0-100 kph time of just 8 seconds! The hot hatch, even in its earlier iteration, has always been a highly anticipated one in India and its impressive numbers prove exactly why. Unveiled nearly a year ago, the Swift Sport gets a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine which produces 140hp and 230Nm of peak torque. At just 970kg, its light kerb weight results in a power-to-weight ratio of 144.33hp/tonne and that helps it achieve its 8-second acceleration figure.

    To put the Swift Sport’s potential into Indian perspective, the hottest hatch Maruti sells in India is the Baleno RS. It is powered by a 999cc, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol mill (also from the same Boosterjet series of engines as the 1.4 motor) which produces 102hp and 150Nm of peak torque. The Baleno RS is also based on the same light-weight Heartect platform as the new Swift (and the Sport) and, therefore, weighs just 950kg. Its 107.36hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio translates to a tested 0-100kph run of 10.25 seconds – impressive but well off the Swift Sport’s league.

    Maruti Suzuki Swift Sport engine
    The Swift Sport's 140hp, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol motor.

    This, however, makes the Baleno RS quicker than the regular third-gen Swift on sale in India. The new Swift, launched at the 2018 Auto Expo, comes with the same 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol and 75hp, 1.3-litre diesel engines as the last-gen Swift. As per our road test of the hatchback, the petrol Swift is the (ahem!) swifter of the two, taking 11.96 seconds to hit the ton mark (13.20s for the AMT-equipped model). As you can tell, the current Swift is clearly not in hot hatch territory.

    That brings us back to the Swift Sport. In addition to its impressive acceleration timings, it has also proven to be a step-up from the naturally-aspirated last-gen car. To refresh your memory, the last Swift Sport (sold only in international markets) was powered by a 140hp, 1.6-litre petrol motor and it went from 0 to 100 kph in 8.7 seconds. The new Swift Sport’s superiority, therefore, comes from its higher torque figure (up by a sizeable 70Nm, from 160Nm) and lower kerb weight (down by 75kg, from 1045kg).

    A glance at these figures effortlessly lead to the conclusion that we are yet to be blessed by a truly hot hatch from Maruti Suzuki in India; the Baleno RS can be considered as a ‘warm hatch’ at best. The brand has not achieved a level of success with the Baleno RS as it sees with the rest of its mass market models although there is still potential for a proper hot hatch in the Indian market. The success story of the made-in-India VW Polo GT TSI and TDI serves as a good reference point!

    Do you think Maruti Suzuki should bring the Swift Sport to India? Leave a comment below.

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