The first image of the third-generation Swift Sport
Suzuki is promising the character of the Swift Sport has not been altered, despite a switch to a turbocharged engine.
The previous car was highly regarded for its high-revving normally aspirated 1.6 engine, coupled with engaging handling. Indeed, it was the last hot hatch available with a normally aspirated engine.
The new model, on display at the Frankfurt motor show, uses a turbocharged 1.4 with just 4bhp more than the old car at 138bhp at 5500rpm, but torque is up significantly by 52lb ft to 170lb ft, available much lower down the rev range at 2500-3500rpm that makes the car "more fun to drive" across more of the rev range, according to chief engineer Masao Kobori.
The 0-62mh time is improved 25% to an estimated 6.2sec, and top speed now stands at 127mph, up form 6mph. The six-speed manual gearbox carries over from before.
The 1.4 is the biggest petrol engine Suzuki now makes, and Kobori said the firm doesn't need to give the engine a greater amount of power for the car to hold its own against more powerful rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST and Renault Sport Clio, typically with around 200bhp.
"Other manufacturers have higher performance engines,” said Kobori. “Our car is fun to drive, and does not need a powerful engine. When you combine the lightweight technology with the 1.4 engine, you have a fun feeling to drive. The handling of the car and the acceleration of the response are better.”
Of just as much significance to the Swift Sport is its lighter sub one-tonne kerb weight of 970kg, a drop of 80kg from before. This has been taken out of the body of the new Swift Sport, while increasing rigidity. The wheelbase has been increased 20mm, while the width is increased by 40mm, all to aid stability. Wider tyres are fitted to the car’s 17in alloys, too.
The development of the car has in part taken place on UK roads, which was important in finalising the damper tuning, according to Kobori.
The UK is one of the Swift Sport’s key markets, with around 1500 finding homes each year. Suzuki expects the new car to perform as well again when it reaches the UK next spring priced from around £14,000.