2011 Frankfurt Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- Suzuki will introduce the next-generation Swift Sport at the upcoming Frankfurt auto show.
- The racy 1.6-liter engine gets bumped to 134 horsepower.
- A three-door body is matched to a unique suspension and transmission.
TOKYO — For gearheads across Japan, the months, if not years, of waiting are over. Here at last is Suzuki's long-rumored next-generation Swift Sport.
All set to make its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in mid-September, the new Swift Sport is another lithe, compact hot hatch with an exclusively developed 1.6-liter twin-cam engine and six-speed manual transmission.
It replaces a car which, when launched in Japan back in September 2005, soon became a cult favorite. The original Swift Sport was fast, agile and hugely entertaining, like a revival of the original Mini Cooper crossed with the classic Peugeot 205 GTi. Suzuki, long known for its dull econocars, had surprised us with something really special, with cool styling and keen stickers also in the mix.
However, when the mainstay Swift was redesigned in Tokyo last year, there was no sign of a new Sport. Would Suzuki do another one?
In today's eco age, it would be very easy to can it, but the team in Hamamatsu has courageously gone ahead, producing a sharper three-door design with big, trademark front grille, swept-back lights and tapered window line.
Under the hood breathes an improved edition of Suzuki's own 1,586cc M16A 16-valve naturally aspirated engine, with power boosted from 123 horsepower to 134 hp. (Rumors that Suzuki might have used a VW engine for the Sport to help seal its so-far-tenuous partnership with Wolfsburg have come to naught).
The new Sport is a touch bigger all round and sits on a stretched 95.7-inch wheelbase. There's a jump in torque to 118 pound-feet and, with Suzuki citing improvements in the car's suspension, the Swift Sport's fun handling looks set to become even more responsive.
America missed out on the first Swift Sport and, alas, there are no indications as yet that this next-gen model will cross the Pacific either. Launching in Germany suggests that Europe is likely where the main sales action will be.
Edmunds.com says: Japan doesn't produce too many pocket rockets these days so kudos to Suzuki for pushing the button on this one, even if it does end up AWOL in the U.S.