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Suzuki to hunt WRX with rally-bred SX4 GTI

Rally racer: Suzuki's SX4-based WRC car in Sydney, just days before the born-again Japanese brand won its second consecutive Junior WRC title.

Suzuki reveals its turbocharged, all-wheel drive SX4 "GTI" will be here within a year

16 Oct 2007

SUZUKI has revealed that the forthcoming high-performance derivative of its new SX4 hatchback is likely to be turbocharged and should go on sale in Australia within 12 months, priced below $40,000.

According to Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers, who unveiled the SX4 WRC Car at the Australian International Motor Show last week, the new SX4 “GTI” would go head-to-head with Subaru’s Impreza WRX. “We’re confident that in 12 months it’ll be here,” Mr Devers said. “We’ll be competing with Subaru, and all the hatches. We want it to be a reasonable price as well, under $40,000.

“Clearly, (the WRC car) highlights the potential for a high-performance SX4 to join our range. Suzuki Sport president ‘Monster’ Tajima, the man heading up our WRC challenge, is a huge fan of a high-performance SX4, and has already indicated his desire to build such a car.

“We met with ‘Monster’ Tajima at Frankfurt last month, and he has a car done up, turbocharged, and he says that the car he’s done is a real goer,” he said. The WRC car runs a turbocharged version of the SX4’s 2.0-litre “J20” engine, producing around 150kW and driving all four wheels via permanent AWD.

30 center imageLeft: Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima.

Mr Devers said the regular SX4 had proven a hit with Australian consumers and has achieved more volume from the Japanese factory to meet the demand. “We’ll sell as many SX4s as we can get – about 400-500 a month. We’ve been guaranteed 5000 for next year,” he said.

In other future model news, Mr Devers said the company was hoping to have the Splash light car (built in co-operation with General Motors) and the all-new medium-sized car (based on the Kizashi concept shown at Frankfurt) on sale in Australia in 2009.

“The Splash will initially be only available in left-hand drive, but we’re working with Suzuki on plans to produce a right-hand drive sub-light car, including the Splash, which we hope will go on sale here sometime in 2009,” he said. “We’ve already registered our strong interest in selling such a car (Kizashi) in Australia, and are hopeful of a production version going on sale in 2009.” Suzuki enters the local diesel market for the first time in early 2008 with a diesel-powered Grand Vitara, priced less than $35,000. While it is a sign of more Suzuki diesels to come – the Kizashi concept was first shown with a turbo-diesel – Mr Devers drew a line in the sand regarding diesel applications. “I’m not fussed about diesels in small cars, the cost versus the fuel benefit isn’t worth it. It costs a $3000 to $4000 premium for diesel for most marques and to retrieve that money through fuel efficiency is going to take five, six, seven years,” he said. “Nonetheless, if there’s a market for it we’ll introduce it, although I don’t think there is. A diesel is really for a large car.”

Read more:

First look: Kizashi is Suzuki’s new medium

Suzi on cue

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