Arrayed between the new Suzuki Swift Sport’s red-edged circular dashboard dials is a message centre dedicated to providing you with graphically rendered displays, in colour, of your Suzuki’s activities when on the go.
It will reveal fuel consumption, average speed over five minute increments and, in total, your lateral acceleration, the turbocharger’s boosting efforts and the forces of acceleration and braking. Instant information like this used to be the preserve of Nissan Skylines and the hotter Subarus, but now you can have it in this small hot hatch.
There’s also a display measuring the passage of time – that’ll be the clock - and a pair of circular bar graphs revealing the quantities of power and torque you might recklessly be deploying at any particular instant. Given that both are uncalibrated, they’re largely pointless, especially as you don’t need any instruments to gauge the strength of effort you’re summoning from its 1.4 turbo motor.
As you may have guessed by now, this is our first taste of what the new Swift Sport will be like when it arrives on our shores in spring 2018. Most notably, this new Swift Sport has a downsized engine compared with the spritely outgoing version, with that car's naturally aspirated 1.6-litre unit replaced with the turbocharged 1.4 Boosterjet engine used in the Vitara S. The differences on paper may only be a 4bhp power increase, but it's on the torque front where the Swift Sport benefits from a peak torque of 162lb ft over the previous gen's puny 110lb ft.
Suzuki has yet to publish performance or fuel consumption figures for the European specification Swift Sport, partly because the car is fractionally wider. The Swift is based on a relatively new platform shared with the Baleno and, as well as its lower weight, the body is also stiffer than previously, partly as a result of extra welds that are claimed to improve the consistency and response of the steering. There are improvements to the rest of the chassis, too.
It’s not hard to distinguish the Sport version from the rest of the range. Attractive two-tone 17in alloys fill the wheel housings, there’s a slightly more protuberant nose, what Suzuki calls under-spoilers all round, a roof spoiler and a pair of wide-spaced exhaust tips. The black sections of the bumpers are finished in faux carbonfibre, to lightly convincing effect, and the car has been lowered by 15mm and the body widened by 40mm. The interior leaves you in little doubt that you’re sitting aboard a speedier Swift. Red hot decor is there to raise the pulse – these glossy, strobe-like inserts spanning the dashboard, armrests and the centre console – and the black bucket seats are edged with red stitching.