On first sight, the new Swift Sport doesn't look that much different from its less-performance-orientated siblings. Clearly Suzuki appears to be following the rule of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", as only a keen eye will spot the differences, of which there are actually quite a few.
The fact is that Suzuki engineers have been far from idle in the creation of new Swift Sport, citing that there is more of everything on board the latest version of what has become an iconic car for the marque. That’s more power, more torque, better handling dynamics, better fuel economy and increased safety.
Power and torque from the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine are up 8kW and 12Nm to 100kW and 160Nm respectively, while a 30kg weight reduction to just 1060kg has meant a significant reduction in fuel consumption for the new Swift Sport. The six-speed manual achieves 6.5L/100km, while the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) reduces that number further again to a miserly 6.1L/100km. That’s all the more exceptional when you realise the 2012 Swift Sport is both longer and wider than the previous model Sport.
It’s that wider track and all-new body kit that gives the car a decidedly lower stance and more aggressive look. Additionally, there are new 17-inch alloys, a deep front grille, bi-xenon headlamps, blacked-out A and B pillars and some extra-wide dual exhaust tips, which are integrated into a composite-look rear diffuser.
Suzuki says the new Swift Sport will sprint from 0-100km/h in around 8.1 seconds in manual guise, or 0.3 seconds faster than the previous model Sport, but that’s using the recommended 95 RON fuel. The redline is effectively 7100rpm with the rev-limiter cutting in at 7200rpm.
Interestingly, the combination of more power and reduced weight has produced a weight to power ratio of 10.6kg/kW, or better than the iconic Suzuki Swift GTi.
The brakes have had a slight upgrade too, with thicker material on the rear pads, as well as the front brakes covering a larger area, for improved performance.
The new six-speed manual transmission was specially developed for the Swift Sport and uses triple-synchros on first and second gear, along with low-friction bearings for easier and more comfortable shifts.
Suzuki expects the optional 'seven-speed' CVT transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to account for up to 70 per cent of Swift Sport sales, but those cars will not arrive in Australia until sometime in March.
Despite the Sport’s larger dimensions, Suzuki engineers have further optimised the car’s handling dynamics beyond those of the previous car, which already handled and rode brilliantly.
The new car has improved directional stability with a 15 per cent increase in spring rate at the front and 30 per cent at the rear over the standard Swift, which is said to transform the handling.
Front suspension and steering have also been tuned for faster response rates to enhance handling through corners, while the low-profile tyres on the larger 17-inch wheels were specially developed for the Sport and save 1kg per corner.
Greater use of high-tensile steel has resulted in a stiffer and lighter body for the Sport, which is said to have resulted in both a pliant ride while achieving high torsional rigidity.
The new Swift Sport also gains increased levels of sound insulation, with a special sealant around the cabin combined with sound absorbing silencers and high-performance acoustic parts for a quieter cabin.
Inside, the most noticeable additions to the new Swift Sport are the heavily bolstered front sports seats, with contrasting red stitching and ‘Sport’ inserts on the seat backs.
Although we only got a quick look and feel ahead of the drive program, the soft leather sports steering wheel felt superb and very tactile – also with red stitching.
It’s a smart dash too, with an instrument cluster that has been inspired by a chronograph watch. There’s also a start/stop button and sports alloy pedals along with a proper sports shifter with more of that red stitching on the shifter sleeve.
Creature comforts are plentiful on the flagship sport and include keyless entry and start, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, six-speaker audio system with USB connectivity and climate control air conditioning.
Although the Swift Sport is yet to gain an ANCAP safety rating, expect it to attract the same five-star rating as its standard Swift sibling with seven airbags, ESP, ABS and EBD.
The Sport's colour palate includes the classic halo colour of Champion Yellow, along with Ablaze Red, Boost Blue, Snow White, Premium Silver and Super Black.
Suzuki Australia has priced the new Swift Sport at $23,990 for the manual transmission and $25,990 for the CVT transmission. That's actually $1000 less than the original Swift Sport when it was launched here back in 2006.
Stay tuned for CarAdvice's review of the new Suzuki Swift Sport - including track test - coming soon.