The spunky Suzuki Swift Sport grabbed headlines when it was first launched in South Africa. The styling complemented its sprightly performance, all wrapped in an affordable package.
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The Swift Sport did not just happen as a slightly tweaked version of the Swift. Rather, it was specifically planned, designed and built as a standalone model. The story goes quite a long way back in time.
Even though the Swift nameplate was available before 2004 in Japan, the first generation Suzuki Swift was introduced to the export market in 2004 as an entirely new model. It offers both three- and five-door hatchback body styles and was fitted with both 1.3 and 1.5-litre engines. The Swift’s design was born out of a beautiful fusion of dynamism and stability. The driving performance honed on European roads and test courses was recognised, and the car received various awards from all over the world.
In 2006, Suzuki launched the Sport version of the new Swift as a global model. Named ‘Swift Sport’, it was powered by an enhanced high-revving 1.6-litre, naturally aspirated DOHC VVT four-cylinder engine with high lift cams, forged pistons, and strengthened valve springs as well as an updated suspension, ESP and updated interior and exterior design
This version started competing in the Junior World Rally in 2006, and it is the lessons learned from this that have been incorporated into the Swift Sport as we know it.
The first generation Suzuki Swift Sport was introduced to the South African market in 2010 as a limited edition (there were only 100 available!). The 2011 Suzuki Swift Sport was powered by a revised 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 100kW and 160Nm. The car featured a newly designed Sporty interior, a 6-speed manual gearbox as well as updated sporty looks like a rear spoiler, a large front grille, body kit, new HID headlights and rear lighting clusters.
However, it was the Swift Sport launched at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show that really set the car on its own pedestal. Building on the success and popularity of the previous two generations this model added a turbo engine into the mix.
Notably, this car came fitted with the 1.4-litre K14C Boosterjet engine shared with the Vitara Turbo. The engine makes 103kW at 5 500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 2500-3000rpm.
The late Colin Chapman was famed for saying that adding power makes you faster on the straights, but subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.
Chapman’s views made his motorsport teams famous and have always been the motto of the Swift Sport engineers. Since introducing the first Swift Sport in 2005, they have worked hard to reduce weight in all areas of the vehicle, from the design of the sport seats, to the forging methods of the alloy wheels.
The latest Suzuki Swift Sport weighs in at 970kg, a massive 90kg lighter than its predecessor. With 103kW from the BOOSTERJET engine and a sub one-tonne weight, it means the Swift Sport is part of the hallowed group of cars that can claim over 100 kilowatt/tonne.
From the very first Suzuki Swift to the latest one, it has always been regarded as fun to drive, and nippy with engaging handling characteristics, returning that rally feeling to the driver.
The interior of the car is specifically tailored with features that make it smart for the driver to manoeuvre on the road or track.
The Swift Sport brings all the advantages of turbo technology, yet has been designed with the purpose of being a fun drive, whether as a city slicker or as a track monster and is comfortable in both settings with the added value of being feature-packed at a very affordable price.
While the carbon fibre inspired front, side and rear under spoilers create a clear visual distinction from the standard Suzuki Swift, they also play an important aerodynamic role. These spoilers, combined with the redesigned roof spoiler, new flat covers under the engine and main floor, and new, larger front strakes, boost the new Swift Sport’s aerodynamic efficiency by 10% over its predecessor.
Swift Sport buyers can choose from various exterior colours, namely Flame Orange Pearl, Burning Red, Speedy Blue, Pure White, Super Black, Premium Silver, Mineral Grey and the popular, firm favourite Champion Yellow, which was the launch colour.
The last-mentioned pays homage to the championship-winning Super 1600 Suzuki Swift and Ignis that dominated the Junior World Rally Championships in the early-2000s.
Specifications need to translate the promise to reality and, under the guidance of Chief Engineer Masao Kobori, Suzuki set about refining and perfecting each aspect of the Swift Sport that has made it such a peach on a tight and twisty road.
Not only does the Swift Sport offer an exhilarating ride and performance, it comes with a full array of luxury equipment, including fully automatic climate control, speed-sensitive power steering, electrically foldable rear-view mirrors. LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, keyless entry with push-button start, a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and integrated rearview camera, colour info display with boost gauge and oil temperature gauge. If you find yourself pondering whether to go manual or auto, the Swift Sport caters for both - it is available in 6-speed manual as well as 6-speed automatic (and you get the sporty flappy paddles when you take the auto for that real race car feel!).
The Sport model has no less than six airbags (two front, side and curtain airbags), electronic stability control (ESP) and ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA). There are anchored ISOFIX mounting points for infant and child seats, side-impact protection and child locks on the rear doors.
The Suzuki Swift Sport is not only functional, but it’s also a pleasure to drive, boasts a dynamic design and has all the sporty specs your racing heart desires.
The power and torque of a sports car combined with the level of cabin fixtures and fittings make the Sport a competitively priced offering for the South African market.