With just a few months left for mandatory BS6 regulations to kick in, Maruti Suzuki has pulled the plug on the Baleno RS. The souped-up hatchback has been discontinued in its BS4 avatar and owing to limited success, the model is unlikely to see a BS6 upgrade.
The Baleno RS was first introduced as a sporty iteration of the premium hatch in early 2017. It packed in a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol unit from the carmaker’s Boosterjet family of engines and was tuned to produce 102hp and 150Nm of torque. The step-up in performance over the 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol and 90hp, 1.2-litre petrol mild-hybrid engines of the standard Baleno meant that the RS could complete the sprint from 0-100kph in just over 10sec. However, the added oomph did translate into slightly lower fuel economy figures. The hot hatch came with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard.
In terms of design, the RS closely resembled the standard hatchback, save for the mesh front grille, reworked front and rear bumpers, restyled alloy wheels and all-black fabric upholstery. It was available in a single, fully-loaded trim that matched the top-spec Baleno Alpha in equipment levels. As such, it featured dual front airbags, ABS, Isofix child seat mounts, rear parking sensors and camera, 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, automatic air conditioning and auto LED projector headlamps with DRLs.
The sporty Baleno received a mild facelift in early 2019 and was priced at Rs 8.89 lakh. However, low sales compelled the company to slash prices to Rs 7.89 lakh in the subsequent months, which reduced the price increment over the range-topping Alpha petrol-manual to just Rs 31,000. Maruti was further offering discounts of up to Rs 75,000 to clear stocks of the Baleno RS in December last year.
In a fate similar to the RS’ engine, the 75hp, 1.3-litre diesel engine of the standard Baleno is also slated to get axed from the line-up in the near future, following Maruti Suzuki’s decision to exit the diesel market completely. That will leave the premium hatch with just the pair of 1.2-litre petrol engines that have been BS6-compliant since April last year.
This also marks Maruti’s exit from the small turbo-petrol engine category, with the automaker finding it a challenge to market them in India.
All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi
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