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Frankfurt show: High hopes for new Suzuki Swift Sport

Swift entry: The Swift Sport could gain higher performance variants further into the new model’s life cycle.

Swift will be the only Suzuki model to use the ‘Sport’ badge

Suzuki logo18 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

SUZUKI has high expectations for its hotly anticipated new Swift Sport but the Japanese car-maker says it will not roll out the ‘Sport’ moniker to other model lines.

The Swift Sport had its public debut at last week’s Frankfurt motor show, and the company confirmed that it will use a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine outputting 103kW/230Nm and hit Australian showrooms next year.

Suzuki Europe marketing manager David Stinissen told GoAuto that the company went back to basics in developing the new Swift Sport and it is expected to outsell previous generations of the nameplate.

“I think with this one we went back to the roots basically,” he said at the Frankfurt motor show last week.

“This very compact, specific ratio of size. It is known for its handling. We are not following the trend of a 200hp (149kW) big engine. This is a car that is top in handling and has this sense of exhilaration and quick acceleration and we believe that this is really a unique proposition in the hot hatch market.”

Mr Stinissen said Suzuki did not consider trying to outpace some of the more powerful rivals in the hot hatch segment and that there was still last minute work being done on the production-ready pocket rocket.

“It is accessible. It is a hot hatch for daily use. And this handling fun to drive was the real objective in development.

“They spent a lot of time tuning this car, tuning the engine. Because the engine is also used in the Vitara S. We put it in a car that is 970kg, so of course we need to fine-tune the car for the purpose of the car. It is still under development, we are still fine-tuning some parts.”

Despite the global popularity of the Swift Sport, Mr Stinissen ruled out rolling the badge to other models in the Suzuki portfolio.

“I think Swift is a very important brand. In many markets, Swift is more well known than Suzuki. So I think Swift has its own image and own style and own target group. Of course part of the heritage and part of the knowledge we have in Swift and Swift Sport we will use in Vitara S for instance, but Swift is a very unique thing.

“So you will find some of the fun characteristics in the Ignis and in the Vitara and even in the Baleno which is a very rational car, you will get some influence. It (Sport) is really a standalone product. It is a halo product for our brand in any case.”

Mr Stinissen left the door open for tweaked or more powerful special edition versions of the Swift Sport but that would be further into the new model’s life cycle.

“Is there any room for further tuning of the car? Maybe, but this is something that is done in Japan with engineering. There are a lot of local initiatives into tuning the car more because we are a sporty brand.

“Of course we have a lot of heritage with motorcycles and Moto GP and so on. At the moment there is no direction to motorsport with Swift Sport. Special editions for this model are too far away.”

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