“Well, what are we gonna tell your Mama
What are we gonna tell your Pa?
What are we gonna tell our friends
When they say, ‘Ooh la la!’”
Well, little Suzi has woken up and will be getting a lot of ‘Ooh la la’ from friends (and others) as a quick launch blast around the short circuit at Redstar Raceway, Delmas showed with the introduction of a 1,4-litre turbo-charged mill to propel it to exciting levels.
“The Swift Sport heralds a new era for Suzuki South Africa by introducing our modern BOOSTERJET turbo-charged engine technology to our range. This engine won the IATIA Engine of the Year Award in 2018 and with 230 Nm of torque, it will no-doubt be welcomed by Swift Sport and hot hatch enthusiasts alike,” says André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa.
The late Colin Chapman was famed for saying that adding power makes you faster in the straights, but subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.
Chapman’s views made his motor sport 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.
“By keeping the Swift Sport light and nimble, our engineers have made a car that is not only fast but also rewarding to drive. Where other hot hatches have become a blunt tool that rely on brute force, the Swift Sport rewards the driver with precise steering feel, nimble handling, progressive power and good mechanical feedback,” says Venter.
The 2019 Suzuki Swift Sport weighs in at 970 kg, a massive 90 kg lighter than its predecessor. With 103 kW from the BOOSTERJET engine and a sub one tonne weight, it means that the Swift Sport is part of the hallowed group of cars that can claim over 100 kilowatt/tonne.
Four laps of the circuit, impeccably recorded and timed on StigWorx’s Vbox equipment, proved two things – firstly, all of the above is true and secondly race driver Robyn Kriel can do the same lap two seconds quicker than me in the same car.
The most prominent change to the Suzuki Swift Sport is the all-new front design. The entire nose has been redesigned and is unique to the Swift Sport. It includes a larger and reverse-slanted front grille with honeycomb pattern, straddled by two large cut-outs with integrated fog lights.
The front lights are LEDs with long light-bar type LED daytime running lights and there is a front splitter with carbon-fibre type patterning to round off the sporty look.
On the flanks, the Swift Sport is immediately distinguishable by its 16-inch diamond cut and polished alloy wheels, which are now shod with 195/50R16 low-profile tyres. New carbon fibre-patterned side underspoilers flow from the front splitter between the front and rear tyres for improved aerodynamics and a lower, groundhugging appearance.
At the rear, a completely redesigned rear bumper houses two chromed exhaust pipes, one on either side, that have been acoustically engineered for a deeper sound at low engine speeds.
All Swift Sport models also feature rear LED-taillamps and a larger, integrated roof spoiler. A rear splitter, in the same design and style as the underspoilers and front splitter, round off the stylish design.
The K14C DITC BOOSTERJET four-cylinder engine has a capacity of 1 373 cc and replaces the previous generation’s 1,6-litre naturally aspirated engine.
Suzuki’s engineers designed the 1.4 BOOSTERJET engine with a very short intake manifold, an integrated exhaust manifold and, in the Swift Sport, a pendulum-style engine mounting system for additional rigidity. The compact design of the engine has also allowed the engineers to better position the engine for improved weight distribution and a low centre of gravity.
Lastly, the engineers replaced the direct-action variable valve timing (VVT) of the previous naturally-aspirated engine with a new roller rocker-type VVT-system for more progressive power delivery, especially at high revs.
The engine delivers 103 kW at 5 500 r/min (3 kW more than its predecessor) and 230 Nm in a linear fashion between 2 500 r/min and 3 500 r/min, which is 70 Nm more than its predecessor.
The BOOSTERJET engine propels the new lower and lighter Swift Sport to 100km/h from a standing start in just 8 seconds and is rated for a top speed of 205 km/h.
The Swift Sport has never been a heavy vehicle, but to shave more than 10% off its body weight in this iteration took a great deal of planning and design.
Suzuki’s engineers lightened almost all aspects of the vehicle, including its doors, body construction, alloy wheels, engine, seats and interior fittings – while improving overall rigidity.
By replacing the previous generation’s segmented frame with a continuous-frame chassis and adding more welding spots than the standard Swift, the engineers have ensured little body flex or shudder will enter the vehicle, even when driven very hard on uneven surfaces.
Under the skin, the Swift Sport shares the Swift’s HEARTECT platform, which is Suzuki’s proprietary platform technology that was designed for light weight, optimised handling and excellent force displacement in the event of an accident.
Suzuki has again partnered with Monroe for custom designed shock absorbers that have been tuned for minimal body roll and progressive understeer in fast corners.
Other changes to the suspension, over both its predecessor and the standard Swift, include thicker anti-roll bars, an integrated single-unit solution for the wheel hub and bearings and increased spring and damper rates on the front axle.
At the rear, there are Monroe shocks and greater toe and camber rigidity, which in the latter case is three times more rigid than the outgoing Swift Sport. The Swift Sport also features a completely unique trailing arm design, for better tracking between the front and rear wheels.
Suzuki has further increased the size and thickness of the front ventilated disks, improving overall stopping ability by 10% under high-strain repetitive braking tests. At the rear, the solid disk brakes are now made from a new, more durable material that features less fading under in the same repetitive braking tests.
The new Swift Sport will be available with the choice of an uprated six-speed manual gearbox and a brand-new six-speed automatic gearbox.
Both gearboxes have been optimised for rapid shifting under hard acceleration and both models feature the same 0 – 100 km/h acceleration times. In the case of the manual box, the shift action is 10% shorter than before, while tweaks to the clutch profile and a new synchromesh system have been added to give a more positive shift action.
Inside, the designers have used red and chrome detailing, such as red stitching on the gear lever boot, steering wheel and seats and a special red-to-black gradation on the seat material, to convey its sporty intentions.
A unique set of dials welcome the driver, with a red face on the sporty tachometer and a deep silver face on the speedometer. Suzuki’s designers have added minute scaling to the dials, to create the impression of high-end mechanical instrumentation.
Nestled between these dials is a special multi-information LCD colour display that can be programmed to show boost temperature and oil pressure, among many other pieces of information.
“In all the design detailing, the focus was on creating the impression of a high quality, crafted interior that is focused on the driver,” says André Venter.
The Suzuki Swift Sport will offer the full array of luxury equipment, including fully automatic climate control, speed-sensitive power steering, electrically foldable rear-view mirrors and all-round power windows.
The model also features Suzuki’s new 7-inch touch screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a reverse camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, steering mounted controls and cruise control.
The Sport model has no less than six crash bags (two front, side and curtain bags), electronic stability control (ESP) and wnti-lock braking with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assistance (EBD). There are anchored ISOFIX mounting points for infant and child seats, side impact protection and child locks on the rear doors.
The Swift Sport will be sold with a 4-year / 60 000 km service plan and a 5-year / 200 000 km vehicle warranty.
Wake Up Little Susie written by: Bryant Boudleaux, Bryant Felice