The wait for the latest version of the Suzuki Swift Sport is finally over. An all-new Swift was released last year and, as is often the case, we had to wait a while for the performance model. Suzuki have chosen the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show for the launch of the fastest Swift.
Power comes from a revised version of the 1.6-litre VVT petrol engine, now dishing out 134 bhp and 118 lb/ft of torque (up 10 bhp and 9 lb/ft). Power is delivered through the front wheels via a specially-designed six-speed manual transmission, so no flappy-paddled gizmos here.
The changes to the engine may not have released much more power, but they bring other benefits. Official fuel economy figures are up from 39.8 mpg to 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions drop from 165 g/km to 147 g/km, lowering the Sport into tax band F for this year.
While we know details about economy and emissions there are, as yet, no performance figures. A sign of the times, but I’m sure they’ll be released soon.
The standard Swift’s chassis has been given a thorough revamp with changes to toe and camber, increased spring rates, added rebound springs and larger wheel bearings that all promise to deliver more alert and secure handling. Suzuki promises ‘handling that has evolved even further from that of the previous Swift Sport’.
Not only have the chassis settings been changed, the Sport also gets a set of new 17-inch alloys that are 1kg lighter per wheel than those on the old model. One kilogram might not sound like a lot but savings on unsprung mass can yield significant benefits in steering feel.
The last Swift Sport is still one of my favourite hot hatches. It might not have had a lot of power but it made up for that with a lively character that made it a joy to drive. Hearing that the new Sport is going to be more of the same is a big relief to me.
There were some voices asking for the Sport to be given more power, turning it into a Corsa/Clio/Polo rival, but I’m glad they didn’t. The Swift Sport offers a great compromise between entertainment and affordability and for it to move up a division in the performance stakes would mean a big change to that philosophy, and that might not have been to the Swift’s benefit.