India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki is all set to launch a faster version of the popular Swift hatchback in India. According to a report in the Financial Express, the hot hatchback, which will bear the moniker Swift RS will likely be launched in India in the month of April 2019.
Suzuki already sells a hot hatch version of its popular small car called the Swift Sport in multiple international markets. The Swift Sport is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 140 Bhp and 230 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and the car also features a stiffer suspension setup compared to the regular Swift.
Unfortunately for us in India, the Swift RS is not going to be the Swift Sport with a different badge. Instead of getting the 1.4-litre boosterjet engine from the Sport, the Swift hot hatchback for India will instead get the engine from the Baleno RS, ie: the 1.0-litre turbo triple which is also part of the boosterjet lineup of engines from Suzuki. The smaller engine pushes out 101 Bhp at 5,500 rpm and 150 Nm of torque between 1,700 and 4,500 rpm. The engine comes paired with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Also similar to the case of the Baleno RS, the Swift RS will bring a few cosmetic changes compared to the regular car. These should include RS badges on the exterior and interior along with side skirts and new alloy wheels.
While the performance figures don’t seem like much, the difference between the regular Swift and a potential Swift RS is quite a bit. The regular Swift produces only 82 Bhp and 113 Nm of torque which is 19 Bhp and 37 Nm of torque less than the output of the 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine in the Baleno. Considering that the Swift weighs in at 880 kg at its heaviest, this would give the RS a potential power to weight ratio of 114.77 Bhp/tonne. This gives it a slight advantage over its nearest rival the Tiago JTP which has a power to weight ratio of 110.23 Bhp/tonne, which is mainly due to the fact that the Tiago weighs in at 1,016 kgs.
The Financial Express claims that Maruti will enact a pricing strategy for the Swift RS similar to what they did for the Baleno hot hatch. The Baleno RS was priced just below the top-spec ZXi+ diesel model and if the trend continues with the Swift RS, then the new hatchback could be priced at over Rs 8 lakhs, which could prove to be a misstep if Maruti wants to take on the Tiago JTP with the Swift RS.
At that price point, the Maruti Swift RS would end up being 1.6 lakhs more expensive than its Tata rival, which in a price-conscious market like India, could really affect sales. While the current clamouring for a go-faster model of the Swift may just be the only incentive Maruti needs to put that price tag on the Swift RS the fact that the same performance is available at a much lower price, will cause people to ask if the Swift name next to an RS badge is really enough incentive to buy the hot hatch? We’ll have to wait till April, if Maruti does confirm this report, to find out.