Johannesburg - Suzuki’s hotly anticipated new-generation Swift Sport has finally landed in South Africa, sporting a brand new 1.4-litre turbopetrol engine, and a price tag of R315 900 for the manual model and R335 900 in the case of the auto.

Mechanically the latest Swift Sport is a whole new ball game, trading the old model’s high-revving normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine for a lower-revving 1.4-litre direct injection ‘Boosterjet’ turbo unit. Whereas its predecessor made its peak power at 6900rpm, the new unit realises its potential at 5500rpm, while peak torque is delivered from 2500 revs, versus 4400 previously.

While power us up marginally, from 100kW to 103kW, maximum torque increases substantially, from 160Nm to 230Nm - and remember too that it’s now almost immune to altitude. The car is around 80kg lighter too, with Suzuki claiming a kerb weight of just 970kg.

Buyers have a choice between six-speed manual and six-speed automatic gearboxes, the latter featuring steering-mounted paddles. The manual should take about 8.1 seconds to sprint from 0-100km/h, according to Suzuki, while the top speed is listed at 210km/h.

As you would expect, the new Sport gets a modified suspension system that’s in keeping with the car’s name and the Japanese car company has done even more to distinguish it visually this time around. That includes a completely redesigned front bumper as well as a body kit with side skirts and a large diffuser round back, housing twin exhaust pipes.

Sports seats, red trim inlays, additional gauges for boost and oil temperature and a flat-bottomed steering wheel add the necessary sense of occasion inside.

Watch this space later in the week for driving impressions from the Swift Sport's South African launch.

IOL Motoring