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Frankfurt show: Suzuki lobs sportier Swift

Swifter Swift: Range-topping Suzuki light-car will come with a 100kW/160Nm 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Suzuki’s hotly anticipated new Swift Sport revealed ahead of its Frankfurt debut

11 Aug 2011

SUZUKI has revealed the first image of its all-new Swift Sport ahead of the long-awaited new hot-hatch’s global debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

First official details of the new Swift range-topper have also been revealed, but apart from featuring three doors the production Swift Sport bears little resemblance to the wild Swift S-Concept that previewed it at the Geneva and Melbourne motor shows earlier this year.

Gone are the heavily flared wheel-arches that made the S concept 60mm wider than the standard Swift five-door and also missing are the air-scoops in the canary-yellow show car’s front quarter panel and side skirts, as well as its racy rear wing and wing mirror-integrated LED lamps.

Instead, the 2012 Swift Sport is the same width (1695mm) as the regular AZ-series Swift five-door that went on sale here in February, and rides on the same 1470mm front and 1475mm rear wheel tracks with smaller versions of the concept’s multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels.

Height is the same, too, at 1510mm, but the Sport is 40mm longer at 3890mm because it at least features the same aggressive new front-end as the show car, including a black cross-hatched upper and lower grilles separated by a ‘floating’ centre bar, and a heavily chromed foglight bezel comprising three horizontal ‘claws’.

30 center imageLeft: Swift S-Concept. Below: Previous Swift Sport.

Suzuki Australia has confirmed the sportier Swift will top its popular light-car range here in the first half of next year and previously said it would hit local showrooms 12 months after the mainstream AZ Swift, so expect an Australian launch around next February.

However, the model seen here is unlikely to become the first three-door Swift available to Australians, because it will be built exclusively in Europe.

The five-door Swift Sport will be produced in Japan, where Australia-bound Swifts are made, but GoAuto understand higher sourcing costs have made the local business case for the three-door body style difficult.

Similarly, if Suzuki again produces three-door versions of the mainstream Swift in this generation they are unlikely to be made available Down Under.

Confirmed to power the Swift Sport is an exclusive new 1.6-litre (1586cc) ‘M16A’ naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine producing 100kW of power at 6900rpm - 30kW more than the standard Swift’s 1.4-litre engine and 8kW up on the outgoing Swift Sport’s 1.6 – and 160Nm of torque at 4400rpm (up 12Nm).

Suzuki claims the new engine delivers more power and lower fuel consumption, while a six-speed manual will again be standard (replacing the previous model’s five-speed manual), but for the first time the front-wheel drive Swift Sport will also be available with a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel shift paddles.

While a more potent GTI version of the latest Swift is unlikely to eventuate, the more powerful new engine should make the lighter three-door Swift Sport quicker than not only the garden-variety 70kW Swift models but its 92kW predecessor, stocks of which will remain available until about September.

Suzuki has also revealed it hottest hatch will feature “exclusive” rear suspension to deliver a new level of handling performance, but that is unlikely to mean the standard vehicle’s torsion-bar rear suspension will be replaces by a more effective and costlier independent system.

Suspension changes are likely to be limited to lower, stiffer springs and firmer dampers and anti-roll bars, and the car should also feature a sports-tuned version of the standard model’s new electric power steering system.

Like all versions of the latest Swift, which comes with a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, the Sport will be fitted as standard with seven airbags, electronic stability control and ABS brakes, but it is not known if the show car’s Brembo brake package will be fitted.

The Swift Sport’s interior has not yet been revealed and it remains to be seen whether the production version will feature the show car’s snug black leather Recaro sports bucket seats, carbon-fibre-look centre stack or chrome highlights.

However, Suzuki says the car’s cabin “combines essential sportiness with a high-quality look and feel as well as, design features that heighten the excitement about the driving experience”.

The new Swift range-topper should be priced in line with its predecessor’s $23,990 pricetag at the top of a redesigned three-variant Swift line-up that opens at $15,990, making it significantly cheaper than more powerful pint-size sports hatches like the Volkswagen Polo GTI (from $28,990).

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