A prototype believed to be the next-generation 2017 Suzuki Swift Sport has been spied for the first time during hot weather testing in southern Europe.

Suzuki Swift Sport 1

Compared to the regular Swift prototype spied in March, this vehicle sports a more prominent front spoiler with larger air intakes, side skirts, and a fatter rear bumper with two large exhaust pipes on each side.

Though heavily disguised, the development vehicle closely resembles the leaked images of the next-generation Suzuki hatch that were published in March - which was also believed to be the Swift Sport due to its body kit, alloy wheels and dual exhaust outlets.

Suzuki Swift Sport 7

Design-wise, the new Swift will make a bigger leap in styling than the current model did from its predecessor, bringing a sharper and more masculine in place of the cuter, more rounded car on sale today.

According to a report by UK’s Autocar, the new Swift Sport will ditch its naturally-aspirated 100kW/160Nm 1.6-litre engine for the 103kW/220Nm 1.4-litre ‘Boosterjet’ turbo from the Vitara SUV, which should give it a welcome performance boost - though still not in the same league as the 130kW+ Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Meanwhile, regular Swifts in Europe will be powered by the 82kW/170Nm 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo that recently debuted in Australia in the similarly-sized Baleno hatch.

Suzuki Swift Sport 2

Details on what will shift gears is still unknown, however, using the Vitara S Turbo as a guide, the Swift Sport should be offered with a six-speed automatic with paddle-shifters as an option, while a six-speed manual would likely be standard as with the current model.

In the leaked images from earlier this year, the Sport is likely to get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a new infotainment system shared with the Baleno and Vitara featuring satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay, while a six-speed manual gear knob can be seen.

Suzuki Swift Sport 5

The new Suzuki Swift Sport is expected to be officially revealed mid-2017 - well after the regular Swift range which is expected to debut at the Paris motor show in October - so stay tuned for an update.