At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Suzuki’s Swift Sport might’ve found itself a little out classed in the presence of larger, more whiz bang car launches and concept unveils. But it’s arguably one of the most significant cars to have graced the floor as its the among the cars most of those in attendance can actually afford, the humble Swift Sport is the most fun.
Suzuki has teased this car before, and it’s come under a little scrutiny with its seeming divergence from the aesthetic established by the previous Swift Sport. In these new pictures, though, it does look much better than in those early photographs.
Dissecting the more aggressive additions that Suzuki included with the Sport over the standard Swift reveals not too many new bits, but the cumulative effect of the more aggressive front and rear bumper, dual tail pipes, bright yellow exterior colour, and especially those flamboyant alloys did leave some fans a little apprehensive.
Given the right paint and maybe some subtler wheels, there’s plenty of aesthetic potential here. But by far the most impactful change here is the introduction of a turbocharged engine. Where the prior car used a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre, one would need to really wring out those revs to reach any serious thrust. While that might be exciting around a tight highland road, it can be a little frustrating when you just wan to overtake the slow-as-molasses lorry.
The 1.4-litre direct-injection BoosterJet four-cylinder in this new model doesn’t take the power figure very high, which at 103kW (at 5,500rpm) isn’t much better than the atmospheric unit and probably why Suzuki is a little shy about mentioning it in their launch literature. However, torque, a most useful commodity, is up significantly to 230Nm and is accessible from 2,500rpm. It isn’t sustained for very long, though, and declines after passing the 3,500rpm plateau to redline.
It’s a good thing, then, that Suzuki is mating this engine with slick close ratio six-speed manual transmission, meaning that deft drivers can row through the ratios while keeping the engine at its gutsiest. For a car that weighs around 970kg, which is 80-odd kilograms lighter than the outgoing model, that’s potentially enough power-to-weight to let it rival proper hot hatches like the Renault Clio RS, Ford Focus ST, or even Volkswagen Golf GTI - maybe even besting it around a technical stretch of road in spite of its power handicap.
Suzuki hasn’t published any firm times to attach to its extra performance, however, so we’ll likely need to wait until the car approaches a true launch date in order to find out how quickly it can sprint to 100km/h and such. W
Step into the cabin and plenty of red greets your retinas wanting to make clear that this isn’t an ordinary Suzuki. The cloth sport seats look supportive and offer considerably more side bolstering and the flat-bottomed steering wheel evokes some other notable sports cars in recent memory. There’s also a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4.2-inch multi-function display sandwiched between the speedometer and tachometer.