JIMS 2008: SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT Suzuki eyes pocket rocket for SA
There could be good news for motoring enthusiasts from Suzuki. Suzuki Auto South Africa (SASA) is considering the introduction of the exciting Swift Sport during the course of next year.
The little tar burner is closely based on the five-door Suzuki Swift hatchback which is already proving a popular buy among B-segment buyers locally. However, the Sport adds further motoring excitement and driver appeal to the equation, thanks to a significant power injection and a series of chassis enhancements.
It also builds on Suzuki’s proud motorsport heritage, which has seen the Swift dominate the Junior World Rally Championship. In 2007, the Suzuki Swift Sport JWRC car took the first two places in this ultra-competitive series.
In visual terms, Suzuki’s Swift Sport looks the pocket rocket part. Viewed from the front, the deeper front bumper, with its integrated airdam, is home to a large, secondary air intake, flanked by round fog lamps on either side.
Extended sills link the more aggressively flared front and rear wheel arches, while the rear bumper incorporates a meshed rear apron. Twin, large-bore exhaust tail pipes provide further visual confirmation that this is no ordinary Swift, while a roof spoiler above the rear screen is standard.
The Swift Sport rides on specially designed, 16-inch alloy wheels, shod with grippy Bridgestone 195/50 R16 high-performance tyres.
The sporty character of the Sport’s exterior design is mirrored inside, where the sculpted sport seats with raised bolsters are upholstered in a striking combination of red and black fabric.
A thick-rimmed, leather trimmed sports steering wheel provides a vitally tactile interface with the Sport’s dynamic traits, while the stubby gearshift lever promises short, fast shifts. Stainless steel pedals with rubber inserts continue the performance theme.
At the very heart of the Swift Sport’s exciting demeanour is a 1,6-litre high-performance, four-cylinder powerplant. The free-revving M16A unit features VVT variable valve timing and has a maximum power output of 92 kW at
6 800 r/min, linked to a torque peak of 148 Nm at 4 800 r/min.
As a result, the Swift Sport accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8,9 sec and is credited with a maximum speed of 198 km/h.
Drive is to the front wheels via a quick-shifting five-speed manual gearbox. Standard Electronic stability control ensures that the power is fed to the wheels as efficiently as possible, while an all-disc braking system with ABS and EBD ensures that the Sport’s considerable urge is coupled to equally prodigious stopping power.
The chassis has been uprated to match the Sport’s additional muscle. Spring rates and damper settings have been modified to provide greater stiffness and control, while special gas-filled shock absorbers are specific to the Sport.
The Sport retains all the key elements of the five-door Swift as far as ergonomics, practicality and versatility are concerned.
The instrument binnacle is home to clearly legible, round dials for speed and rev count, highlighted by red needles and metallic bezels. The standard Swift’s clean and logical ergonomics have been retained, including the integrated sound system, trip computer and precision switchgear.
Standard equipment is comprehensive, in line with the Swift Sport’s flagship status, and includes electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking, a trip computer, air-conditioning and an integrated CD receiver with MP3 playback capability. The steering wheel features satellite controls for the audio system.
The Swift Sport’s safety equipment is comprehensive in both active and passive terms, and includes dual front, side and curtain airbags, seatbelts with front load limiters and pre-tensioners, all-disc ABS brakes with EBD, and ESP stability control.
The relatively long wheelbase and wide body ensure roomy accommodation front and rear, while the luggage compartment can be extended by folding forward to the split rear backrest.
The new Suzuki Swift Sport is one of the centrepieces of the massive Suzuki Way of Life World at the Johannesburg International Motor Show. If plans to release the car locally go ahead, it should become available towards the last quarter of 2009.