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2017 Frankfurt Motor Show: Suzuki debuts lightweight turbo Swift Sport hatch

Wheels Magazine logo Wheels Magazine 13/09/2017 Ryan Lewis

Eagerly anticipated details about the 2018 Swift Sport have been released by Suzuki at the Frankfurt Motor Show overnight.

As hoped, the featherweight hatchback sports a sub-tonne kerb weight of 970kg in the UK, down 80kg, and will be powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder lifted from the existing Vitara Turbo, with a bump of 10Nm to outputs of 103kW and 230Nm.

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A six-speed manual transmission will be offered, and at this stage is the only gearbox mentioned, though an auto may be added by the time the Swift Sport reaches Australia.

Switching to the ‘BoosterJet’ engine is a departure for the diminutive driver’s car, which has been propelled by a naturally aspirated engine in the two generations past. However, the torque hike offered by the turbo engine makes the Swift Sport "more fun to drive" according to chief engineer Masao Kobori.

The last Swift Sport sold in Oz was powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 100kW and 160Nm. An almost 45% increase in torque (available between 2500-3500rpm) should give the light-on-its-feet Swift Sport a real chance against more powerful rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST (134kW/240Nm), Volkswagen Polo GTI (141kW/320Nm) and RenaultSport Clio (147kW/240Nm).

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"Other manufacturers have higher performance engines,” said Kobori at the Frankfurt show. “Our car is fun to drive and does not need a powerful engine. When you combine the lightweight technology with the 1.4 engine you have a fun feeling to drive. The handling of the car and the acceleration of the response are better.”

Suzuki carried out most weight reduction work in the body structure of the Swift Sport, and still managed to increase rigidity. Improvements to suspension hardware are said to increase stability without resorting to overly stiff spring rates. Its wheelbase is 20mm longer and track wider by 40mm, while the body itself is 15mm lower.

"It’s lighter, sharper, quicker. It’s more aggressive and emotive, but we’ve also refined the elements that make it practical to use every day – the clutch feel, the manual transmission shift throw, the seats and steering wheel. Everything that puts the driver at the heart of the experience.”

Champion Yellow carries over as the model’s hero colour, derived from the Suzuki Works rally car that competed in the Junior World Rally Championship. Unique styling features include the ‘staggered’ front grille design, carbonfibre look embossing for the front lip spoiler, side skirts and diffuser, and a tapered shape for the twin-tip exhaust. Standard kit includes 17-inch wheels.

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Interior changes include red detailing on the seats, dash and door panels, while boost and oil temperature gauges have been added to the instrument cluster. The front ‘semi-bucket shape’ seats receive larger bolsters for more support. Touchpoints include a flat-bottomed steering wheel with perforated leather, chrome finished shift knob and sports alloy pedals.

Infotainment kit incorporates a 7.0-inch touchscreen with inbuilt navigation as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. Active safety features like a forward collision warning system, lane departure warning and high beam assist have been fitted to overseas models as standard.

Specification for the Swift Sport in Australia will be announced closer to the model’s arrival. Pricing is expected to be comparable to the last generation, which cost $24,490 for the manual version, or $26,490 with a CVT.

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