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When the current Suzuki Swift was released in South Africa in March 2011, it was without a range-topping Sport model - but now it's here, with 1.6-litre power and uprated suspension making it, if you'll forgive the cutesy pun, both swifter and sportier than its predecessor.
The all-new 1586cc M16A engine with variable inlet-valve timing is rated at 100kW at 6900rpm and 160Nm at 4400rpm, compared to the previous model's 92kW at 6800rpm and 148Nm at 4800.
It drives through a newly-developed six-speed manual 'box, in place of the previous five-cog cluster, that helps cut the 0-100 sprint time from 8.9 to 8.7 seconds, while top speed is quoted at 195km/h.
And all of that comes at less cost to the environment; Suzuki quotes CO2 emissions of 153g/km, an eight-percent improvement on the previous Sport's 165.
ON THE ROAD
Minesh Bhagaloo of our sister publication Star Motoring was at the SA media launch; the high-revving new engine doesn't feel like 100kW at Gauteng altitude, he reports, and would have worked better up here with a turbo.
“But the six-speed gearbox is very direct, with a short, positive action.”
The new Swift Sport sits 10mm closer to the road than the previous generation, with uprated rear suspension for tighter turn-in, and the body shell incorporates more high-tensile strength steel, making the new Swift Sport - with all its extra kit - 30kg lighter than the old one.
The front treatment is focused on a large single-frame grille that manages not to look as if it came off an Audi, framed by sleek high-intensity-discharge headlight clusters with metallic grey coatings and large foglight bezels with distinctive fins.
Neat skirts continue the line set by the deeper front bumper, with dual tailpipes, a metallic-grey diffuser and the obligatory spoiler outlining the rear end, all running on 16” alloys shod with 195/50 rubber.
“The Sport looks cool,” says Bhagaloo, “especially in yellow.”
The Sport has special seats with extra side support, trimmed in a special fabric with red stitching and embroidered 'Sport' logo, matching the red-stitched accents on the leather steering wheel and gear lever sock.
Stainless-steel pedals and upmarket, chronograph-style meters with hairline chrome trim complete the look, and a standard-issue trip data computer displays range, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption and more.
“The speedo is marked in 30's” says Bhagaloo, “with just an arrow at the 100km/h mark - and, for what it's worth, it'll do 100km/h in 8.7 seconds at the coast, according to Suzuki”
Standard kit also includes automatic aircon, electric power steering, power windows and side mirrors, a six-speaker radio/CD/MP3 sound system with a USB port, and remote keyless entry and starting.
The new Swift Sport costs R213 900, which includes metallic paint and the Suzuki Complete service package.
“The Swift Sport is a nice all-round package, well priced for what you get,” confirms Bhagaloo.
“Suzuki SA say only the five-door variant will be available in South Africa as it's more popular than the three-door, but they've promised that it won't be limited in supply like the last one.”