A day after launching the facelifted, 2019 version of the Baleno premium hatchback, Maruti Suzuki has revealed the Baleno RS – the high performance iteration of the car. The car starts from Rs. 8.76 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi. This represents a Rs. 29,000 price increase over the pre-facelift version.
The Baleno RS gets the same changes as the top-end version of the regular model. This means it gets a refresh on the outside, which includes a new bumper, revised grille, new alloy wheels and so on. On the inside, the car gets a new colour scheme while the overall design remains unchanged.
The key selling point of the Maruti Baleno RS continues to be the 1 liter BoosterJet turbocharged petrol engine it’s powered by. This engine makes 101 Bhp-150 Nm, which is a lot higher than the regular Baleno’s 82 Bhp-113 Nm outputs. The Baleno RS is sold with a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard, and there’s not automatic transmission even as an option. The car also gets disc brakes on all four wheels, as another key enhancement over the regular version.
As for safety features, the Maruti Baleno RS packs in twin airbags and ABS+EBD as standard safety features. Reverse parking sensors, a reverse parking camera, a seatbelt reminder and ISOFIX child seat mounts are other safety features that are standard on the car.
Keyless entry, push button start, automatic climate control, electrically folding wing mirrors, steering adjustable for tilt and reach, front driver’s seat with a height adjust function, automatic headlamps with follow-me-home function and a new SmartPlay infotainment unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are the various creature comforts on offer.
The Maruti Baleno RS is one of India’s best selling high-performance cars. The hatchback takes on the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI. The Polo GT TSI is more powerful though, and is powered by a 1.2 liter-4 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 104 Bhp-175 Nm.
The gearbox on the Polo GT TSI is a 7 speed twin clutch automatic unit. Prices of the car start from Rs. 9.58 lakhs, which makes it more expensive than the Baleno RS. The Polo’s solid build and the automatic transmission on offer does make it a compelling alternative to the Baleno RS though.
Coming to the other affordable high performance hatchbacks on sale in India, the recently launched Tata Tiago JTP offers tremendous value while the Fiat Punto Abarth sits right at the very top of India’s hot hatchback category. Priced at just Rs. 6.39 lakhs, the Tiago JTP offers more power than both the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and the Maruti Baleno RS.
The car is powered by a 1.2 liter turbocharged petrol engine that pushes out 112 Bhp-150 Nm. The gearbox is a 5 speed unit with revised ratios for better grunt across the rev range. The Fiat Punto Abarth on the other hand, is the most powerful version in this list, with its 1.4 liter turbo petrol motor putting out 145 Bhp-211 Nm. The car’s priced at Rs. 9.74 lakhs.