The new Suzuki Swift Sport will be more of a handful thanks to more power and less weight. We take a look at the hot hatch now that it has been unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Suzuki wants the Swift Sport – the sportiest version of the Swift hatchback – to be even more potent. In fact, it wants to go swim into 'genuine hot hatch territory', to borrow Suzuki's own words, and that is a brave move.
Fortunately for everyone involved, Suzuki has done more than write a strongly-worded press release. It has actually absorbed feedback and made a lengthy list of revisions that should make the 2018 Swift Sport even better.
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: What is different?
The main difference concerns the space under the bonnet. Suzuki has ditched the 1.6-litre in favour of a 1.4-litre turbocharged lump that will have to work hard to make up for not being naturally aspirated.
It gets 4bhp more for a total of 138bhp at 5,500rpm, which is a plus. Vastly more important though, is the fact the torque has increased by 52lb/ft (70Nm) to 170lb/ft (230Nm) and can be had from 2,500 to 3,500rpm. No word on performance figures, though.
This is all potentially good news for the Swift's swiftness, but Suzuki has gone one step further. By losing 80kg of weight, the 2018 Swift Sport weighs just 970kg and that is impressive for a modern-day motor.
Making it lighter is partly to do with the 'Heartect' platform, which underpins the body and makes the car stiffer and better in a collision, as well as the 'Tect' body and 'optimisation' of the seats and other interior parts.
As for the six-speed manual gearbox, well, that is identical so gear changes will be like they were before. Happy days.
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: What about the handling stuff?
The ride quality will be familiar given that the suspension up front uses the same Monroe shock absorbers, but increasing the thickness of the stabiliser joint bars and revisions to the wheel hub and bearings should mean improved roll stability and camber rigidity.
At the back are also Monroe shock absorbers and a new trailing arm, which is 1.4 times more rigid than its predecessor and three times better in the camber rigidity stakes. All in all, it should be livelier and sharper but not necessarily any harsher.
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: Any styling adjustments?
A few, but the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport is hardly going to be a member of the radical changes club. It looks a little more muscular (but still cute), thanks to a new front end that is more than a little Nissan GT-R-inspired.
Revisions include blacked-out A-pillars and vertically arranged front and rear lamps like you get on the new Swift. Overall, it looks familiar but also like you should take it a bit more seriously.
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: Interior any better?
Nothing makes a car more sporty than red accents and Suzuki is using that to great effect. The main gauges are red and there is more red on the doors, semi-bucket-shaped front seats, upper dashboard and centre console, which contrasts nicely with all the black accents and red stitching.
Then there is new Smartphone Linkage Display Audio Display (did someone mention a display?) and its seven-inch touchscreen that offers SD card-based navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. In short, it is largely similar but the enhancements are welcome indeed.
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: Any safety improvements?
Quite a few, actually, including the arrival of an advanced forward detection system that uses a monocular camera and laser sensor to detect pedestrians, lane markings and other hazards.
If the driver fails to react to a threat, the Dual Sensor Brake Support (DSBS) will alert the driver, apply brake assistance or, if you have really taken your eye off the ball, actually stop the 2018 Swift Sport for you.
Then there is a new lane departure warning system, which tells you to steer back and even helps you do just that, while the weaving alert function issues audio and visual warnings if you are having some trouble keeping the vehicle straight.
Other additions available include six SRS airbags, Radar Brake Support, high beam assist and adaptive cruise control, all of which should make life easier and safer.
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport: When can I buy it?
The spring of 2018 is expected to be when you can buy the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport, likely from around £14,000. Based on what we know so far and the ability of the old car, the new model could be a bit of a hit ─ even if on paper it comes across as more of a tepid hatchback than a hot one.